Rishi Sunak uses Hindi in tweet amid trade talks with India

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shake hands as they meet at the G20 summit

Sunak and Modi at the G20
Photo: Leon Neal (Reuters)

Rishi Sunakthe new British Prime Minister, would have speaks basic Hindi. On November 16, he tweeted partly in the language after meeting his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, in Bali, Indonesia, on the sidelines of the G20 summit.

An image shared in the tweet is a close-up photograph of the two world leaders with folded hands. “United by Friendship”, Sunak, a Conservative, and the first person of South Asian descent to lead from 10 Downing Street, states first in English. The Hindi part of the tweet simply read: “A strong friendship.

He garnered 167,000 likes and 22,000 retweets from that post.

In addition to signage Sunak’s Indian roots, the tweet is also noteworthy in the context of the free trade negotiations the two countries have been engaged in since the beginning of this year. They have already missed the October 24 deadline for a deal.

The potential benefits of a UK-India free trade deal

A British government Press release published alongside the launch of negotiations in January noted that an agreement between the nations “has the potential to almost double UK exports to India, increase our total trade to £28billion a year by 2035 and raise wages across the UK by up to £3 billion.”

Faced with an unprecedented situation economic crisis, the UK needs all the help it can get. In September, India overtook it to become the world’s fifth largest economy in terms of GDP and keep growing at a relatively steady pace.

Bilateral trade between India and Britain increased to $17.5 billion in 2021-22 from $13.2 billion in 2020-21, the Hindustan Times reported this week. India’s exports stood at $10.5 billion in 2021-2022, while imports were $7 billion, according to the report.

Sunak offered India an ‘olive branch’ with 3,000 visas

Just days before Sunak took over as prime minister, UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman, who was born to parents of Indian descent, publicly ruffled her hair. express fears that a trade agreement with India would feed immigration to his country.

Sunak now appears to have assuaged some of the irritation his views have caused in India. As The Guardian reportedhe “offered an olive branch on visas on Tuesday evening (November 15) by giving the green light to 3,000 two-year visas for young Indian professionals.”

But while he sees a wider trade deal as a “fantastic opportunity”, the British Prime Minister does not seem in a rush to finalize one, would have said ahead of his meeting with Modi that the UK should not “sacrifice quality” for a quick deal.

During this time, he honed his politics on the world stage. His part-Hindi tweet will likely work in his favor among Indians celebrating his rise as a world leader. And a trade deal with India that works well for the UK will earn Sunak’s applause at home.