Feedback | Thursday, April 18, 2024

11/01/24 | 12:39 pm

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s landmark UK visit strengthens bilateral ties

The leaders delved into various crucial matters during their meeting, spanning defence, economic cooperation, joint exercises, training, capacity building, increased interoperability, and military ties, with a specific emphasis on the maritime domain.

They underscored the importance of industrial cooperation and technological advancements, committing to uphold a peaceful and stable global rules-based order. Sunak expressed optimism about the ongoing Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations, emphasizing collaboration in trade, defence, and technology. He reaffirmed the UK's dedication to enhancing the defence and security aspects of the bilateral relationship through strengthened business and technology partnerships.

As a gesture of goodwill, Singh presented a Ram Darbar statue to Sunak during the meeting, attended by UK NSA Sir Tim Barrow. Additionally, Singh engaged with Foreign Secretary David Cameron, highlighting the evolving momentum in the India-UK partnership.

Cameron reiterated the UK government’s commitment to defence collaboration, particularly in defence industrial cooperation, to support a rule-based international order. Singh underscored Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership in guiding India toward becoming a developed nation by the mid-21st century, focusing on sustainable growth, poverty reduction, and a business-friendly environment.

The defence minister also met his UK counterpart, Grant Shapps, and participated in the India-UK Defence Industry CEOs Roundtable at Trinity House in London. The UK announced its plan to deploy the Littoral Response Group to the Indian Ocean Region later this year, proposing a visit by the Carrier Strike Group to Indian waters in 2025. Both will operate and train with Indian forces.

Singh outlined his goal of integrating defence industries through supply chain integration to enhance resilience. He stressed the importance of bilateral startup-level interaction and joint project identification for implementation by India and the UK. 

The defence minister also engaged with the Indian community at India House, London, meeting over 160 prominent individuals of Indian origin, including military ex-servicemen and family members of World War II veterans. These initiatives align with the 2030 India-UK roadmap announced in 2021, focusing on a comprehensive strategic partnership.

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