World's largest democracy to fast-track trade deal with Brexit Britain this year - 20x faster than EU

After PM’s visit, India agrees to target a trade deal with UK by October

© Brexit Facts4EU.Org 2022

Additional Brexit Benefits: Security and defence deal agreed, 11,000 UK jobs already created

At the end of last week while ‘Partygate’ was rumbling on in the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was on a pre-planned visit to India, drumming up trade and agreeing new defence and security cooperation.

The growth opportunities for Brexit Britain from its new relationship with India

  • Part One – What happened when the PM visited India and why is it important? Why is this another Brexit Benefit?
  • Part Two - In the next part of our series, we will be looking at the massive opportunities for British companies if Indian tariffs are lifted on goods from the UK, as a result of a trade deal.

As usual, in the production of this report Facts4EU.Org has conducted significant and original research from official sources. The results are firstly summarised for those short on time, then more detail is provided below.

Our sources include: No.10 | UK Dept for International Trade | Indian PM's Office | Indian Government Ministry of External Affairs | IMF database | EU Commission (EEAS and Eurostat) | United Nations.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org Summary

India – Why it’s important to a newly independent United Kingdom

  • Population : 1.35 billion (3 times the size of the EU and the world’s 2nd-largest after China)
  • India is the largest democracy in the world
  • 1.6 million people of Indian heritage live in the UK – the largest Indian diaspora
  • GDP : $1.9 trillion (No.6 in the world, bigger than 16 of the 27 EU countries combined)
  • Land mass : 1,269,219 sq miles (78% of all EU27 countries combined)

This was Mr Johnson’s first visit to India as Prime Minister, after being invited by Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi.

In India’s 75th year of independence from the UK, what follows is Part One of a special Facts4EU.Org series on the sub-continent’s largest player. We look at what happened last week, why it’s important, and what the future might bring - now that the UK is out of the EU.

The Prime Minister, speaking in New Delhi on Friday

“We’ve agreed new deals worth £1 billion, and created more than 11,000 new jobs across the UK, in everything from electric buses to the robotic surgery of Smith and Nephew which I saw yesterday as well as in artificial intelligence, where India’s strengths are remarkable.

“And perhaps most significantly for the long term, we are making full use of the freedom that we now have to reach a Free Trade Agreement.”

“So as India celebrates its 75th year of independence, I am filled with optimism about the years ahead and the depth of the friendship between our countries, and the security and prosperity that our partnership can deliver for our people for generations to come.”

- The Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP, India, 22 Apr 2022

The EU and India – what if the UK had still been in the EU?

The EU launched negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA) with India in June 2007 – 15 years ago. These came to a de facto standstill in 2013.

According to the latest information from the EU dated February 2022: “No date has been fixed yet for any of the negotiation tracks.” In other words, no actual achievement from the EU in 15 years.

While the UK was an EU member it was forbidden from conducting its own trade negotiations with other countries. Now all that has changed, thanks to Brexit.

The Indian Prime Minister, speaking in New Delhi on Friday

“For the past several years, Prime Minister Johnson has played a very important role in strengthening the relations between India and the UK. At the time when India is celebrating the Amrit Mahotsav of its independence, Prime Minister Boris Johnson's visit is a historic moment in itself. And yesterday, the whole of India saw that you started your visit to India by paying homage to Mahatma Gandhi at Sabarmati Ashram.

“Last year, we established the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between the two countries…. Teams of both countries are working on the subject of Free Trade Agreement. Good progress is being made in the negotiations. And we have decided to make full efforts towards the conclusion of the FTA by the end of this year.“

- Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, 22 Apr 2022

The Brexit benefit

By contrast with the EU, the UK and Indian governments started trade talks in January of this year. On Friday Boris Johnson and Indian PM Modi agreed to fast-track a trade deal to be completed by the start of the Indian holy festival of Diwali, in October 2022.

Whilst Facts4EU.Org confidently predicts this will never happen in that challenging timeframe, nevertheless it is clear that both parties are enthusiastic. Four chapters of the FTA have already been agreed. Even if the deal is not agreed in nine months, it cannot possibly take longer than the 15 years the EU has taken to achieve nothing. Below we show the details of existing trade and what came out of the PM’s visit at the end of last week.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org Summary

Details of trade, negotiations, defence, and Memorandums of Understanding

1. UK’s current trade with India

  • UK exports to India : £7.7bn
  • UK imports from India : £13.8bn
  • India is the UK’s 15th largest trading partner
  • The opportunities to increase UK exports to India are clearly very significant

2. Trade negotiations

  • India has no Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with EU, so UK could not have one either
  • UK launched FTA negotiations with India in January 2022 in New Delhi
  • Both parties say negotiations are going well, four chapters of FTA already agreed
  • Target is to complete FTA by end October (around 20 times faster than typical EU FTAs)
  • New FTA would pave the way for doubling bilateral trade by 2030
  • New deals worth £1 billion now agreed, creating 11,000 new jobs across UK

3. Defence co-operation

  • UK’s Carrier Strike Group (CSG) conducted joint operations with India in October 2021
  • New and expanded Defence and Security Partnership has been agreed
  • India-UK Comprehensive Strategic Partnership will enhance co-operation on secure Indo Pacific
  • UK is creating India-specific Open General Export License for defence equipment

4. Memorandums of Understanding (MoU’s) exchanged during the official visit of PM to India

Government-to-Government MoUs exchanged

  • MoU on Implementation of Global Innovation Partnership between Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India and Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, UK
  • MoU on Cooperation on Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership between Department of Atomic Energy, Government of India and Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, UK

Non-Governmental MoUs exchanged

  • MoU on establishment of short term Chair at Birmingham City University between ICCR and Birmingham City University
  • Joint Declaration of Intent for cooperation in the field of Offshore Wind Development between the National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE) under Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Government of India and the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, (OREC)
  • Memorandum of Understanding on the creation of The Chevening/Adani Scholarships on Artificial Intelligence between the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office– British High Commission New Delhi and the Adani Group
  • MoU on satellite launch programme between New Space India Limited (NSIL) and OneWeb


The EU - a day late and a dollar (or rather a euro) short

Guess who turned up in New Delhi the day after the British Prime Minister left? None other than Björn Seibert, the 'Head of Cabinet' for one Ursula von der Leyen, EU Commission President. He was preparing the ground for Mrs von der Leyen to visit New Delhi today. This can only be characterised as the EU following on behind Brexit Britain once again.

We find it very interesting that the EU Commission issued a press release on a Sunday evening - something they never normally do. It's not as if it was urgent. It merely said that von der Leyen's Head of Cabinet was in India preparing the way for his boss to visit today. This is hardly "hold the front page stuff". The only explanation is that the Commission realised they are going to appear to be behind Brexit Britain yet again.

The EU has had 15 years to agree a trade deal with the world's largest democracy. In fact it can be argued that it has had far longer, as it didn't even get around to starting its failed negotiations until 2007.

We confidently predict that tonight or tomorrow the EU Commission will publish a glowing press release regarding Ursula von der Leyen's visit, announcing all manner of vague 'achievements' and promising much progress in the future. Given their past record we doubt these will come to much.

Another 'Brexit Bonus'

With 'Partygate' in the news, and with Ukraine quite naturally taking up most of the rest of the media's time, Boris Johnson's visit to India has received little coverage. Certainly it has not been analysed in detail using official sources, as Facts4EU.Org has done above.

The simple fact remains that the rapidly-growing relationship between the United Kingdom and India is important - and is yet another benefit of Brexit. This would not have been possible had the UK still been a member of the EU.

Putting these reports together does not come cost free, however…

Facts4EU.Org needs your financial support today

We are a 'not for profit' team (we make a loss) and any donation goes towards the actual work, not plush London offices, lunch or taxi expenses, or other luxuries of some organisations.

We badly need more of our thousands of readers to donate – no matter how small an amount it all helps. Could this be you, today? Maybe you've been thinking about it, but just haven't got around to doing it? If so, let us reassure you. It's quick and easy and we use two highly secure payment providers. And we do NOT ask you for further donations if you donate once - we just hope that you keep supporting us. Your donation stays anonymous unless you tell us otherwise.

Please don't assume that other people will keep us going - we don't receive enough to survive and we need your help today. Could you help us?

Most of our readers are well-informed and appreciate our fact-based articles, presented in a way you won't see anywhere else. If you value reports like the one above, please help our work with a donation. We have far more to do in researching, publishing, campaigning and lobbying Parliament than we have in terms of the financial resources to fulfil these tasks. We badly need funding to continue - we rely 100% on public donations from readers like you.

If you believe in a fully-free, independent, and sovereign United Kingdom, please make a donation now. It’s quick, secure, and confidential, and you can use one of the links below or you can use our Donations page here. You will receive a personal, friendly ‘thank you’ from a member of our team within 24 hours. Thank you for reading this.

[ Sources: No.10 | UK Dept for International Trade | Indian PM's Office | Indian Government Ministry of External Affairs | IMF database | EU Commission (EEAS and Eurostat) | United Nations ] Politicians and journalists can contact us for details, as ever.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org, Mon 25 Apr 2022

Click here to go to our news headlines

Please scroll down to COMMENT on the above article.
And don't forget to actually post your message after you have previewed it!

Share this article on

Something to say about this? Scroll down for reader comments

Since before the EU Referendum, Brexit Facts4EU.Org
has been the most prolific researcher and publisher of Brexit facts in the world.

Supported by MPs, MEPs, & other groups, our work has impact.

We think facts matter. Please donate today, so that we can continue to ensure a clean Brexit is finally delivered.

Any credit card user

Quick One-off


From £5 - £1,000



From £3 per month

Paypal Users Only - Choose amount first

Quick One-off