United Kingdom’s Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, met his Indian counterpart General Anil Chauhan on Monday to roll out his three-day military engagements here for keeping up momentum in building strategic ties between the two nations.

The two Chiefs of Defence Staff (CsDS) reviewed progress on various pillars of the UK-India defence partnership and exchanged views to further expand ties in all the domains, the British High Commission officially stated in a media reachout. Admiral Sir Tony Radakin’s visit comes in the backdrop of India and UK bilateral relations passing through a new low owing to increased open anti-India activities by Khalistan radicals, which is to the discomfort for the Modi regime.

The UK and India, however, stated the British High Commission, are natural partners in defence and share a strong and enduring relationship, including collaboration in research, development, and training.

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Talking about his visit, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin said his tour reflects the UK’s interest in keeping the Indo-Pacific “open and free”, besides both nations are witnessing significant investment and modernisation. “My visit to India reflects the United Kingdom’s belief that our security is indivisible from that of the wider world. As a global trading nation, it matters to the UK that the Indo-Pacific is open and free, which is why the British Armed Forces is establishing the broadest and most integrated presence in the region of any European nation,” the UK CDS emphasised.

“India and the UK are natural partners in a world that is becoming more contested and volatile. We share many of the same democratic instincts and values and are both committed to the rule of law. We are respected military powers, both undergoing significant investment and modernisation and exercising together across, land, sea, and air. But we can do more. I value the opportunity to meet with General Anil Chauhan to discuss how we can develop our partnership in a way that benefits our mutual security and prosperity,” Radakin stated.

He held discussions with the Navy Chief Admiral Hari Kumar, Army Chief General Manoj Pande, Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane, and Additional Secretary Defence Production, T Natarajan. Other than strategic issues, the UK is offering advanced core technologies that can be manufactured in India, such as ITAR-free jet engines. The UK is also looking up for partnerships on India’s indigenous combat air programmes, including LCA Mk-II and AMCA.

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Subsequent to the signing of an updated Memorandum of Understanding in 2019, discussions around industrial collaboration in the aerospace sector have been progressing, with the UK’s Minister for Defence Procurement visiting in February and the First Sea Lord visiting in March, the High Commission said.

Meanwhile, the armed forces of the two nations continue to have exercises to develop interoperability and joint tactics. In recent weeks, HMS Lancaster visited Kochi to train alongside the Indian Navy as part of Exercise Konkan, while five Mirage 2000 fighters were flown by Indian Air Force pilots in the Royal Air Force’s largest aerial exercise in the UK – Exercise Cobra Warrior, the High Commission stated.