UK Foreign Secy raises BBC tax searches with EAM, firmly told all entities 'must comply' with laws

Speaking to ANI in an exclusive interview, Cleverly said that BBC is an independent organisation and is separate from the UK Government.

Published: 01st March 2023 06:58 PM  |   Last Updated: 01st March 2023 08:25 PM   |  A+A-

UK Foreign Secy-EAM

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar with UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly during a meeting, in New Delhi. (Photo | PTI)


NEW DELHI: British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly on Wednesday said that the issue of searches on BBC offices in India was raised with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar during a bilateral meeting today.

Cleverly, currently in India to attend the G20 Foreign Ministers' Meeting, brought up the issue of the BBC tax searches during his meeting with Jaishankar, sources told ANI. "Cleverly was firmly told that all entities operating in India must comply fully with relevant laws and regulations," according to sources.

In February this year, Income Tax authorities conducted searches at the offices of the British broadcaster in New Delhi and Mumbai.

Speaking to ANI in an exclusive interview, Cleverly said that BBC is an independent organisation and is separate from the UK Government.

"I didn't see the documentary but I've seen reactions in UK and India. BBC is an independent organisation and separate from the government. I enjoy a strong personal relationship with Dr Jaishankar...relationship between UK-India growing stronger by the day," said Cleverly when asked about the BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The BBC had in January this year released the documentary film titled 'India: The Modi Question," which features the Gujarat riots of 2002. The film caused controversy for alluding to the leadership of Modi as chief minister during the riots while disregarding the clean chit given by the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile speaking on Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between India and the UK, Cleverly said, "We do a lot of business with India and are working extensively. I'll be meeting India's trade secretary. We want to make sure this trade agreement really benefits both the countries and unlocks billions of pounds of bilateral trade."

Cleverly added that the UK looks forward to bringing the trade agreement to a conclusion in due course of time.

Commending India's G20 presidency Cleverly said it is quite exciting and the event holds has fantastic opportunities. "This is a great opportunity to talk about sustainable economic agenda and green agenda," he said.

The G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting (FMM) is scheduled to take place in physical format from March 1-2, 2023 in New Delhi under India's presidency.

Representatives of 40 countries, including non-G20 members have invited by India, and multilateral organisations will attend.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to address the foreign ministers of the member countries of G20 and he will talk about India's growing influence globally.

The foreign ministers are also likely to discuss ways to deal with falling economic growth, increasing inflation, lower demands for goods and services as well as increasing prices of food, fuel and fertilisers.


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