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‘India, UK working on taking forward defence ties’

Vidya Ram London | Updated on January 08, 2018

India and Britain hope to agree on concrete measures for taking forward their defence partnership by next year, ahead of the next meeting of the two Prime Ministers, Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra, said during a three-day trip to the UK.

The meeting of the two leaders is widely expected to take place at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in London.

Following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to London in 2015, the two countries agreed to hold regular dialogues, as part of the India-UK Defence Consultative Group , since which time a step change in terms of depth had taken place in cooperation and dialogue in the area, said Mitra, who met Michael Fallon, UK’s Defence Secretary.

“The military community dialogue has been going well and there have been a wide range of visits that have been taking place at the level of chief of staff, and senior operatives…we have a road map going and we hope that by the time of the meeting of the prime ministers we will have some meat on this,” he said, adding that talks had ranged from capability development, to defence equipment, cyber security, counter terrorism.

India has pegged the defence sector as one of the major areas where the bilateral partnership could be expanded around the ‘Make in India’ campaign. During Modi’s visit in 2015 the two sides agreed to move towards a new Defence and International Security Partnership that would be “intensify cooperation on defence and security, including cyber security, and maritime security” pushing for joint working in key strategic areas.

“We are very keen that UK firms participate in our Make in India process and in our strategic partnership exercise that we’ve just begun,” said Mitra.

“We would like the UK companies with expertise in this matter to be fully involved,” he said highlighting helicopters, fighter aircraft, infantry combat vehicles among the areas where there were opportunities for British companies within the supply chain.

Published on October 10, 2017

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