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UK pushes for stronger defence, security, trade ties

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on October 24, 2021

Britain's Foreign Secretary Liz Truss   -  REUTERS

'India essential in ensuring a free, open, inclusive, prosperous Indo-Pacific'

UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who visited Mumbai on Saturday, said that closer defence and security partnerships between the UK and India underpin deeper economic ties and make both countries, as well as the wider region, safer.

Truss, on a two-day official visit to India, met Foreign Minister S Jaishankar and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday and had detailed discussions on the ‘Roadmap 2030’ launched during the India-UK Virtual Summit in May this year.

Jaishankar and Truss agreed on the need to launch the India-UK Free Trade Agreement at the earliest with a focus on negotiating an interim agreement that can deliver quick gains to businesses in both India and the UK, according to a release issued by the Ministry of External Affairs.

“Both Ministers also discussed the Migration and Mobility Partnership and the Global Innovation Partnership and committed to their early implementation. They also acknowledged the establishment of new dialogue mechanisms for discussing consular issues and maritime security,” the release said.

Both sides also agreed on instituting the India-UK Strategic Futures Forum Track, a new 1.5 Dialogue mechanism to foster expert deliberations on long-term strategic links between the two countries.

Truss, whose schedule includes a visit to the HMS Queen Elizabeth, the fleet flagship of the UK Royal Navy currently in Mumbai, said that the ship’s presence in Mumbai demonstrates the country’s growing defence and maritime cooperation with India.

“The Foreign Secretary sees developing this security and defence relationship with India, the world’s largest democracy, as a key part of the UK’s Indo-Pacific tilt. She wants to strengthen such links with fast-growing economies and like-minded partners in the region and build a network of liberty around the globe. The Foreign Secretary sees India as essential in ensuring a free, open, inclusive and prosperous Indo-Pacific,” per an official release issued by the British High Commission in New Delhi.

Published on October 23, 2021

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