Johnson heads to India to fulfill Modi, escape ‘partygate’ flak | Health

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is attempting to put aside his political troubles and give attention to financial ties and the warfare in Ukraine throughout a long-delayed official journey to India.

Johnson is because of go to the western state of Gujarat and meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on the two-day journey that begins Thursday.

He hopes to strike new financial offers between Britain and its big former colony, and to coax India away from Russia in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

Modi has known as the scenario in Ukraine “very worrying” and has appealed to either side for peace. But India has stood again from worldwide efforts to criticize President Vladimir Putin, abstaining when the U.N. General Assembly voted this month to droop Russia from the Human Rights Council.

Modi has up to now responded coolly to stress from President Joe Biden and others to curb imports of Russian oil and gasoline.

India receives little of its oil from Russia, however has ramped up its purchases and purchased 3 million barrels of crude final month, simply as different democracies tried to isolate Putin with financial sanctions. India can also be a serious buyer for Russian weapons, and not too long ago purchased superior Russian air protection techniques.

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Johnson’s spokesman, Max Blain, mentioned Britain would “work with other countries to provide alternative options for defense procurement and energy for India to diversify its supply chains away from Russia.”

But he careworn that the U.Ok. wouldn’t “lecture other democratically elected governments on what course of action was best for them.”

Johnson’s workplace mentioned the 2 nations will announce new offers on protection, inexperienced vitality, jobs and science partnerships in the course of the prime minister’s journey.

Britain is in search of to tighten ties with Asian nations as a part of an “Indo-Pacific tilt” to its overseas coverage following its departure from the European Union in 2020. Johnson hopes to nudge ahead negotiations on a post-Brexit commerce deal between Britain and India, one of many world’s fastest-growing economies.

Talks began in January, however the prime minister’s spokesman performed down probabilities of a fast deal, saying “we don’t want to sacrifice quality for speed.”

The journey may additionally present the British prime minister with a quick respite from a scandal over lockdown-breaching authorities events in the course of the coronavirus pandemic.

Johnson was fined by police final week for attending his personal shock birthday celebration in 10 Downing St. in June 2020, when individuals in Britain have been barred from assembly with family and friends outdoors the house. It is one in every of a dozen gatherings in authorities buildings being investigating by police for doable lockdown breaches in a scandal that has turn into referred to as “partygate.”

On Tuesday, Johnson provided lawmakers in Parliament what he mentioned was a ”wholehearted” apology, however insisted he didn’t knowingly break guidelines and dismissed calls to resign.

The journey means Johnson will miss an opposition-triggered vote Thursday within the House of Commons on whether or not he must be investigated for allegedly deceptive Parliament when he denied violating any pandemic restrictions.

His journey to India was scheduled and canceled twice beforehand as a result of developments within the pandemic.

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