In most if not all negotiations it is surely common sense not to look too desperate.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak should maybe have reflected on this simple wisdom before he jumped on the plane for the G20 summit in India.

Some of the drama around who was meeting who at the summit, and where, was a bit like a soap opera, although at least it was a little entertaining.

There was a view that US President Joe Biden had been favoured by Narendra Modi by being invited to the Indian Prime Minister’s residence.

Mr Sunak was granted a meeting lasting around 20 minutes in a room in the New Delhi conference centre at which the summit was staged.

The UK Prime Minister’s comments to Mr Modi might have been viewed by many as a little too obsequious. More importantly, however, they appeared to betray a desperation to do a trade deal with India, albeit you would imagine that Mr Modi would have got the impression long before now that the Conservative Government was falling over itself to reach an agreement as the UK is buffeted by the shambles of Brexit.

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Of course, similar desperation has been plain in the UK Government’s negotiations of trade deals with Australia and New Zealand.

The desperation appears to stem mainly from a wish by the ruling Conservatives to try to show Brexit has been a success, when of course it has been disastrous, as was always inevitable.

UK economic output has and will continue to be hammered by the loss of frictionless trade with the giant European Economic Area and the ending of free movement of people from and to the giant bloc.

The Tories try time and again to paint a picture that delivering new trade deals offering tiny benefits will somehow plug the gaping hole in output arising from Brexit. These deals will do nothing of the sort.

There seems to be an unhealthy obsession with the Commonwealth and bygone days of the British Empire in Brexiters’ efforts on this front.

Returning to Mr Sunak’s meeting with Mr Modi in New Delhi on Saturday, the following statement was issued in the immediate wake of the discussions by the UK Prime Minister’s Office: “The Prime Minister met India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the G20 summit in New Delhi today.

“He congratulated Prime Minister Modi on his country’s consummate presidency of the G20 this year, which has demonstrated India’s vital global leadership and influence. Prime Minister Modi noted the warm reception the Prime Minister has received in India.”

A bit cringeworthy already?

Whatever the case, there was more to come.

The Prime Minister’s Office also declared: “The leaders reflected on the close and growing ties between the UK and India, exemplified in the ‘living bridge’ between our people. They agreed it was important to build on the past and focus on the future, cementing a modern partnership in cutting-edge defence technology, trade and innovation. They also discussed a number of consular issues.

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“The leaders had a productive conversation about negotiations on a UK-India free trade agreement. The Prime Minister reiterated the UK’s ambition to deliver a landmark trade deal which benefits businesses and workers in both countries and grows our trade in both goods and services. They agreed that ministers and negotiating teams would continue to work at pace towards an FTA.”

The “at pace” is interesting. The Brexiters have seemed in a headlong rush for years now to do trade deals with anyone but the European Union. This rush has not tended to translate into speedy conclusion of deals, apart from the rollover agreements that enabled the UK to keep what it had in terms of arrangements with countries outside the EU that it had when it was a member of the powerful and influential bloc. Trade deals take a while. Regardless of speed, however, the crux of the matter is the economic benefits that trade deals deliver.

The new agreements reached already by the UK Government deliver very little, relative to the huge losses of Brexit. And the same applies to the desired India trade deal.

In January 2022, the then Department for International Trade said: “A UK-India FTA is estimated to increase UK GDP (gross domestic product) by the equivalent of around £3.3 billion to around £6.2 billion, depending on the depth of the agreement, when compared to projections of UK GDP in 2035 levels.

“This is equivalent to an increase in UK GDP of between 0.12% and 0.22% in the long run. The scale of impact is uncertain. Reducing tariffs alone could increase UK total trade with India by up to £8.9 billion (26%), and UK GDP by up to £1.4 billion (0.05%) in the long run, compared to 2035 projections.”

"Between 0.12% and 0.22% in the long run" is the key part of this assessment. And, yes, it is as small as it sounds.

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Forecasts drawn up by Theresa May’s government in 2018 showed Brexit would, with an average free trade deal with the EU, result in UK GDP in 15 years’ time being 4.9% lower than if the country had stayed in the bloc if there were no change to migration arrangements. Or 6.7% worse on the basis of zero net inflow of workers from EEA countries. And the Tories have clamped down on immigration.

Returning to the statement from the UK Prime Minister’s Office about his meeting at the weekend with his Indian counterpart, this went on: “The Prime Minister and Prime Minister Modi welcomed the opportunity to meet again in person and the Prime Minister congratulated Prime Minister Modi again on delivering a successful G20 summit.”

Overall, you get the impression there was nothing hugely substantial in the meeting.

The UK Government seemed desperate to do a deal with India a few weeks ago when Kemi Badenoch, Secretary of State for Business and Trade, visited the Commonwealth country. The ruling Conservatives continue to look to be falling over themselves to do a deal.

Mr Modi, not surprisingly, seems happy enough to take advantage of this opportunity.

The benefits to the UK will be small, but that will not stop there being a great deal of noise when a deal is sealed, assuming it is.