Boris Johnson’s long-awaited visit to India this month could be in jeopardy as the country faces a new spike in Covid cases. His office clarified they are going ahead with plans but also added that they are keeping the international situation under review. However, officials on both sides are trying to ensure that the visit does go ahead even if the programme needs to be limited due to the Covid-19 situation in India.
Mr Johnson, who is planning to visit the country at the end of April, has already had to postpone the trip once. Earlier this year, PM Johnson was scheduled to visit the national capital as the chief guest at the Republic Day parade in January. But he had to cancel the trip at the last minute after a new strain of the Sars-CoV-2 virus led to a surge of coronavirus cases in his country.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to launch a new trade pact on his visit to India on April 26, his first major international visit after the United Kingdom left the European Union. Johnson’s visit to New Delhi – the United Kingdom has indicated he would like to travel to Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru and Chennai as well – is seen to underline the importance of the Indo-Pacific region which the UK says, is “critical to our economy and security”.
“The British Prime Minister’s itinerary in India is yet to be finalised,” a senior government official said, pointing that Boris Johnson was keen to travel to the four cities after wrapping up the formal engagements in New Delhi on April 26.
The visit will be his first major international trip since Britain’s departure from the European Union. It would also be the first bilateral visit by any UK leader since Theresa May went to Africa in August 2018.
PM Johnson, who was also down with Covid-19 last year, was given the first dose of the vaccine earlier this month. The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer headquartered in Pune, one of the four cities on his itinerary.
Meanwhile India has recorded its highest number of infections in a single day since the pandemic began prompting concern over the wisdom of an official trip. More than 103,790 new cases were recorded on Sunday, taking the total number of infections to over 12.5 million, second only to the US and Brazil.