• Wednesday, June 12, 2024

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UK says India is ‘valued defence partner’

The visit of the UK chief of defence staff also coincides with the visit of the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) of the Royal Air Force, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston

Indian Chief of the Army Staff General Manoj Pande meets UK Chief of Defence Staff Admiral Sir Tony Radakin in New Delhi on April 17, 2023. (Photo: ANI)

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

Britain on Monday (17) described India as a “valued defence partner” as the Chief of the UK Defence Staff, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, arrived in New Delhi at the start of a three-day visit.

Defence secretary Ben Wallace made the statement to coincide with Admiral Radakin’s visit to India for meetings to enhance bilateral ties.

Both India and the UK are committed to the stability and prosperity of the strategic Indo-Pacific region, Wallace added.

He said, “India is a valued defence partner for the UK and our relationship continues to flourish across our research and industrial sectors.

“Both our nations are committed to the stability and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific and we continue to train and operate alongside our Indian partners to promote security in the region.”

A statement from the UK government said Admiral Radakin will meet India’s Chief of Defence Staff General Anil Chauhan and also hold discussions with the Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Hari Kumar; Chief of the Army Staff, General Manoj Pande; defence secretary Giridhar Aramane and additional secretary defence production T Natarajan.

Later, he will be hosted by various establishments of the Indian armed forces across the country, with a view to boost “military-to-military engagement and explore opportunities around the co-creation of future technologies”.

Admiral Radakin said, “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 are establishing the broadest and most integrated presence in the region of any European nation.

“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.”

The visit of the UK chief of defence staff also coincides with the visit of the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) of the Royal Air Force, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston.

Both visits by two of the senior-most officers of the UK’s armed forces illustrate the importance with which the UK holds its defence and security partnership with India, the UK government added.

The Royal Navy, British Army, and Royal Air Force are all carrying out exercises with their Indian equivalents this year.

In recent weeks, HMS Lancaster was in Kochi to train alongside the Indian Navy as part of Exercise Konkan.

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.

Later this month, soldiers from the Indian Army will deploy to the UK to participate in Exercise Ajeya Warrior, training alongside the British Army.

The UK and India share a strong and enduring defence relationship, including research, development and training collaboration, Britain said.

Discussions around industrial collaboration in aerospace have been progressing following the signing of an updated memorandum of understanding (MoU) in 2019, with the UK’s minister for defence procurement visiting in February and the First Sea Lord visiting in March, the government added.

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