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Post-Brexit UK will be just as important to India, says Modi

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May holds a bilateral meeting with Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, at 10 Downing Street in London, April 18, 2018. Kirsty Wigglesworth/Pool via Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain will be just as important to India after it leaves the EU as it is now, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi told his British counterpart Theresa May on Wednesday, May’s spokeswoman said.

“Prime Minister Modi said there would be no dilution in the importance of the UK to India post-Brexit,” the spokeswoman said in a statement.

“He said the City of London was of great importance to India for accessing the global markets and would remain so.”

Modi is in London for this week’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). He told May in a bilateral meeting that Brexit offered opportunities to increase trade ties between Britain and India, the statement added.

Britain is due to leave the EU in March 2019 but has negotiated a conditional transition or implementation period to last until January 2021.

“May said the implementation period agreed in March gives Indian companies and investors the confidence that market access will continue on current terms until the end of 2020,” the statement said.

“She reiterated that the UK will remain committed to global free trade and investment and that the UK will remain a leading hub for global finance,” it added.

Reporting by Stephen Addison; editing by Costas Pitas