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From UK PM Boris Johnson choosing a made-in-India bicycle to launch his multimillion-pound new health campaign to combat coronavirus to a new £8mn medicinal research collaboration, the broad spectrum of bilateral ties was once again in the limelight.
The 14th India-UK Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO), held in a virtual setting recently, laid out some big ambitions for bilateral ties with a commitment to agreeing on an “Enhanced Trade Partnership” as part of a roadmap that could lead to a future free trade agreement (FTA). During the ministerial dialogue, it was agreed that the process of engagement will continue at a more regular and faster pace. And, as some recent developments indicate, that pace seems to be very much on track, not least when UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson chose a designed in the UK and made in India bicycle to launch the UK's new anti-obesity drive to combat the impact of coronavirus.
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The Viking Pro bike used by him is part of India's Hero Motors Company owned Insync brand, designed in Manchester and made in India by parent company Hero Cycles, which took over the brands Viking, Riddick and Ryedale and redesigned the range under the brand name Insync. The Insync range now consists of 75 bikes and is the first to be designed at Hero Cycles Global Design Centre (HGD) in Manchester.
And the symbolism of Johnson's choice did not go unnoticed, as Indian Commerce & Industry and Railways Minister reflected on Twitter: "Delighted to note that a Made-in-India cycle helped kickstart a healthy UK campaign and was used by PM Boris Johnson. Indian products are without doubt the best recipe for nursing back the health of the World."
Johnson, a keen cyclist who went on a weight loss regime following his Covid-19 hospitalisation earlier this year, was seen riding his Hero Viking Pro to Canalside Heritage Centre at Beeston in Nottingham, central England as he unveiled plans for thousands of miles of new protected bike lanes and bikes available on prescription as part of a new fitness strategy.
Pankaj M. Munjal, chairman and managing director of Hero Motors Company, which includes Hero Cycles, Insync, the Viking and Lectro brands, said: “We strongly back all the measures announced in the strategy, a move we hope will see many more thousands of people taking to the roads on two wheels. Providing safer cycle routes, funding towards e-bikes and a bike repairs scheme will encourage even more riders to return to cycling or take it up for the first time, building on the stand-out success the industry has seen during the pandemic.”