Boris Johnson is set to embark on a much-delayed trip to India, where he will focus on defence and trade.
The prime minister will meet his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in New Delhi with the aim of deepening the security partnership between the two countries.
The visit to India’s capital on Friday will follow a trip to Ahmedabad in Gujarat – believed to be the first time a prime minister has visited India’s fifth-largest state, which the government says was the ancestral home to around half of the British-Indian population in the UK.
During his visit to Gujarat on Thursday, Mr Johnson will meet business leaders and focus on trade.
The PM had been due to visit India on his first major trip after he was elected in 2019, but it was repeatedly delayed due to Covid-19.
Ahead of his visit this week, the prime minister said: “As we face threats to our peace and prosperity from autocratic states, it is vital that democracies and friends stick together. India, as a major economic power and the world’s largest democracy, is a highly valued strategic partner for the UK in these uncertain times.
“My visit to India will deliver on the things that really matter to the people of both our nations – from job creation and economic growth to energy security and defence.”
In Gujarat, Mr Johnson is expected to announce major investment in key industries in both the UK and India, as well as new collaboration on science, health and technology.
The PM is also expected to use the trip to push forward trade negotiations launched earlier this year.