Boris Johnson reached India

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GUJRARAT: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrived in India on Thursday touting job-creating investment but facing long odds to get his reluctant counterpart Narendra Modi to back Western action against Russia.

Johnson arrived in western Gujarat Modi's home state where he is scheduled to meet business leaders and take a cultural tour of the historic Ahmedabad city, the ancestral home to half of the Anglo-Indian population in Britain.

He will leave for New Delhi to meet his Indian counterpart on Friday, providing Johnson some respite from the “partygate” controversy over his criminal violation of pandemic lockdown rules.

Johnson will miss a parliamentary vote on Thursday into whether he deliberately misled the House of Commons in previously denying any Downing Street rule-breaking — normally a resigning matter.

The India trip has been twice postponed because of Covid flare-ups in each country, and was briefly in doubt again this week when the vote was announced, with opposition leaders insisting Johnson stand down.

But UK sources said it was seen as too important to put off again. Downing Street said it would seal two-way investment deals worth more than 1 billion ($1.3 billion), creating almost 11,000 jobs in Britain.

The visit will “deepen the strategic trade, defence and people-to-people ties between our two countries”, Johnson told parliament before flying out of London.

Downing Street said the visit would yield new partnerships on defence, artificial intelligence and green energy, along with investment deals in areas including robotics, electric vehicles and satellite launches.

“Our powerhouse partnership is delivering jobs, growth and opportunities for our people, and it will only go from strength to strength in the coming years,” Johnson added in a statement.

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