UK PM Rishi Sunak says he's a 'visual representation' of links with India

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's new prime minister Rishi Sunak on Thursday described himself as a "visual representation" of historic links between Britain and India, during a call with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, Sunak's office said.

Sunak, Britain's first leader of Indian descent, also conveyed his hope to Modi that the two nations could continue to make further progress towards a trade deal.

"The Prime Minister hoped the UK and India could continue to make good progress in negotiations to finalise a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement," Sunak's office added.

Sunak's appointment to the nation's highest office this week delighted many Indians and drew appreciation from both sides of Britain's political divide as well as from U.S. President Joe Biden, who called it a "groundbreaking milestone".

His elevation was made even sweeter for many by the fact it came on Diwali, the Indian festival of lights, and shortly after India observed seventy five years of independence from British colonial rule.

Meanwhile, Britain missed its stated deadline of Diwali this year to finalise a free trade agreement with India, a pact that aims to double bilateral trade to $100 billion by 2030.

Britain had completed the majority of sections of the agreement but would only sign off on the deal once happy that it is fair and reciprocal, trade department minister Greg Hands said on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar; editing by William James)