British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has cancelled his trip to New Delhi which was scheduled for next week, in view of the severity of the second wave of the Coronavirus pandemic in India.

An official statement of the ministry of external affairs said, “In view of the prevailing Covid situation, it has been decided by mutual agreement that the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom will not visit India next week.”

However, the two sides will be holding a virtual meeting in the coming days to launch plans for a transformed India-U.K. relationship. “Both leaders attach the highest importance to taking the India-U.K. partnership to its fullest potential and propose to remain in close touch in this regard and look forward to an in-person meeting later in the year,” the ministry said.

The UK is eyeing a new bilateral trade deal with India, following its exit from the European Union. India is the second-largest investor in the UK, after the US. Post-Brexit, the UK is focused on the Indo-Pacific region for its economy and security.Johnson’s trip to India was initially scheduled to take place in January but was cancelled when the UK entered a national lockdown, the third of its kind since the onset of the pandemic last year.

–IANS

aat/ash