This is a major visit by a head of state as the EU, the UK and the US try to force India to shift its stance on the war in Ukraine and oppose Russia

The UK prime minister Boris Johnson is likely to visit India towards the end of this month to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi. His visit will come almost a month after UK foreign secretary Elizabeth Truss’s visit to New Delhi when she met her counterpart Union minister S Jaishankar, said people familiar with the developments.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and British prime minister Boris Johnson earlier met in Glasgow on the sidelines of the COP26 Climate Summit.

The visit has not been confirmed by both sides until now.

Boris Johnson was scheduled to visit India twice last year but his visit was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the deadly second wave that affected both nations. Both leaders met virtually in 2021 where India and the UK announced the Roadmap 2030 for India-UK future relations.

Under this India and the UK have a roadmap where both nations will work together across several sectors like health, climate, trade, education, science and technology, and defence. Both nations also aim to double their trade and elevate the relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP).

The visit comes in the backdrop of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine where the west and the US have struggled to get India to openly criticise Russia. However, India sharpened its tone and urged all sides to ensure that dialogue and diplomacy prevail over loss of lives. India also pointed out to the UK foreign secretary that it is bound to look after the interests of Indians when it comes to buying Russian crude and said that Europe still continues to import energy from Russia while asking the world the sanction Russian businesses.

The UK has interests in the Indo-Pacific as seen by its enthusiasm when it joined a new trilateral security agreement between the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, AUKUS. It, however, realises, like the rest of Europe and the US, that it needs India’s cooperation in maritime issues in the Indo-Pacific to counter China.

Under the Roadmap 2030 for India-UK future relations, both nations have vowed to enhance strategic partnership to strengthen efforts to combat terrorism. They have also discussed freedom of navigation and open access, and improved maritime cooperation through a partnership in the western Indian Ocean when both leaders met last year.