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Jaishankar first overseas guest to meet Cameron after former British PM returned as Foreign Secretary

New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar was the first guest from overseas to meet David Cameron after the former British Prime Minister returned to the government and took over as the new foreign secretary of his country on Monday.

Just a few hours after Cameron was appointed as the new foreign secretary by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Jaishankar met him at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office of the United Kingdom government in London.

“A pleasure to meet UK Foreign Secretary @David_Cameron this afternoon on his first day in office. Congratulated him on his appointment,” Jaishankar posted on X. “Held a detailed discussion on realizing the full potential of our strategic partnership.”

Jaishankar is on an official visit to London as India and the UK are discussing a proposal for a visit by Sunak to New Delhi on an invitation from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The external affairs minister was scheduled to meet James Cleverly, who was the UK foreign secretary till he was appointed as the home secretary early on Monday. Cleverly replaced Suella Braverman as the home secretary after she was sacked by Sunak.

Sunak brought in Cameron to replace Cleverly.

Jaishankar and Cameron exchanged views on the Israel-Hamas conflict in West Asia, Russia’s war in Ukraine and the situation in the Indo-Pacific region.

“Look forward to working with him (Cameron) closely,” Jaishankar posted on X.

Jaishankar called on Sunak at 10 Downing Street on the occasion of Diwali on Sunday and conveyed to him the best wishes of Modi.

Their wives – Kyoko Jaishankar and Akshata Murty – too joined Sunak and Jaishankar during the courtesy meeting.

“Delighted to call on Prime Minister @RishiSunak on #Diwali Day. Conveyed the best wishes of PM @narendramodi. India and the UK are actively engaged in reframing the relationship for contemporary times,” the external affairs minister posted on X.

Once the negotiation for the India-UK Free Trade Agreement concludes, Sunak is expected to visit New Delhi to join Modi in witnessing the signing of the deal.

Jaishankar, however, also had interactions with Cleverly – first at the reception hosted by the High Commissioner of India in London, Vikram Doraiswamy, on Sunday and then again at his new office after he took over as the home secretary on Monday.

“Discussed the importance of mobility, skills and talent in the development of our bilateral cooperation. Exchanged views on addressing shared concerns on extremism, economic offences, trafficking and security,” the external affairs minister posted on X.

He met British Defence Secretary Grant Shapps and discussed enhancing defence and security cooperation between the two countries. They exchanged views on the global security challenges and the convergences in the approach of India and the UK.

He also met former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

(Published 13 November 2023, 15:54 IST)

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