UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be chief guest in India's Republic Day celebrations in January.
This follows the UK Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, holding a successful trade visit to India in December and several positive announcements coming out of that. That included the establishment of a new virtual hub to deliver vaccines for coronavirus and other deadly viruses. After meeting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at which the parties discussed a new exciting 10-year enhanced trade partnership, Mr Raab praised India's commitment to equitable global access to vaccines.
The hub will see British and Indian experts share knowledge on clinical trials and regulatory approvals and get vaccines to people who need them most in a safe, secure and energy-efficient way.
Mr Raab also visited the Serum Institute, where more than one billion doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine will be made.
Mr Raab said: "This Serum Institute and Oxford University partnership demonstrates the UK-India relationship at its best: a vaccine developed in the UK and made in India, drawing our brightest minds together to save lives as a global force for good.
A global pandemic requires a global solution. Scientific cooperation has made breakthroughs on coronavirus vaccines at record-breaking pace and the UK-India Vaccine Hub will now build on these innovations, to bring this crisis to an end and protect us all against future pandemics."
India supplies more than 50% of the world’s vaccines and 25% of the NHS’s generic drugs.
The UK and India also announced a new memorandum of understanding between the UK's internationally leading medicines regulator, Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, and India’s Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO). The regulators agreed to more frequent discussions on UK-India vaccine and pharmaceutical regulations, improving standards and sharing information to control against the trade of unlicensed products.
In further good news, the UK and India announced a new partnership to help UK and Indian scientists unlock the power of data, including the data within genes, to deliver better diagnostics and enhanced life-saving treatments for cancer, diabetes, maternal health challenges and rare diseases.
The UK is leading the way when it comes to advanced therapies, as we heard at the 2020 PING Conference in November - Britain's Great Life Sciences Future: Genomics, Personalised Medicine and AI. That Conference showcased the latest developments from the UK's Genomics England and the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult, amongst others. Delegates also heard from the unique insights coming out of the sequencing of the Parsi community in India by Avesthagen.
In August 2020, with facilitation form the Watford Chamber of Commerce, PING took part in a joint initiative with the Indian High Commission and FICCI (The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry) to collaborate and develop new opportunities between UK and Indian pharma businesses.