Free trade deal with India 'not a given': UK PM Sunak

Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said the country is working towards a trade deal with India, but that reaching a final agreement was "not a given", the Daily Mirror reported.

Sunak arrived in New Delhi on Friday for the annual gathering of the Group of 20 major economies, where he and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi plan a separate meeting including on ongoing trade talks.

"We've been working towards an ambitious and comprehensive free trade deal, but it's not a given. These things are a lot of work and a lot of time," Sunak is reported by the Mirror to have said during his journey to India.

"We need to end up with something that works genuinely for both sides."

Several deadlines missed

Negotiations began in January 2022 and have already missed several political deadlines. But recent comments from both Britain and India have suggested progress continues to be made.

"Lots of progress has been made on this one, but we're not there yet so we've got to keep going," Sunak told reporters in a later interview broadcast from New Delhi. "We can't rush it, and I won't rush it."

Ahead of the visit, Sunak said London had no plans to change its approach to cutting net migration in order to help secure a deal with New Delhi.

A British source close to the negotiations told Reuters in July that talks between the two countries had gained momentum but that further work was needed on services and tariffs to secure a deal.

A top Indian trade ministry official said later in July that both countries could sign the trade deal this year as they have reached consensus on the broad contours.