Step-change in India-UK defence ties: Defence secy Sanjay Mitra
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Step-change in India-UK defence ties: Defence secy Sanjay Mitra

New Delhi has been pleased with British defence secretary Michael Fallon’s explicit comments about terrorism emanating from Pakistan.

world Updated: Oct 10, 2017 22:02 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
Prime Minister Narendra Modi,Defence and International Security Partnership,defence secretary Sanjay Mitra
File photo of defence secretary Sanjay Mitra.(PTI)

There has been a “step-change” in India-UK ties in the defence sector since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to London in November 2015, defence secretary Sanjay Mitra said here on Tuesday after two days of talks that focussed on key issues such as counter-terrorism.

The Defence and International Security Partnership between India and Britain was agreed on during Modi’s visit. It was taken forward during Prime Minister Theresa May’s November 2016 visit to New Delhi, with a special focus on the Make in India programme.

“We are keen that British companies participate in the defence sector, to be fully involved in the strategic partnership. There has been a deepening of ties in the defence area since the prime minister’s visit in November 2015,” Mitra told reporters.

He said key issues in his talks with officials of the defence ministry in Whitehall included capability building across areas, cyber security, equipment and supply chains. India will participate in the centenary of the Royal Air Force in April 2018.

No details about the talks on counter-terrorism were disclosed, but New Delhi has been pleased with defence secretary Michael Fallon’s explicit comments about terrorism emanating from Pakistan on the eve of his visit to India in April.

Fallon had told Hindustan Times: “There is no excuse, justification for terrorism and we make that very clear in Pakistan.” He added that his talks with Indian interlocutors also focus “on what more Pakistan needs to do to tackle terrorism that flows across the border into Afghanistan and elsewhere”.

Britain has committed to continue its engagement with India’s defence ministry and defence companies to simplify and expedite export controls and to support the transfer of technology for projects in areas of mutual interest.

Mitra also participated in a meeting of the Defence Consultative Group to take forward the bilateral defence agenda, including London’s proposals for capability partnerships through a range of activities, including military-to-military cooperation, training and exchange of experts, research and technology linkages and defence manufacturing.

A series of joint exercises are on the anvil - Konkan 2018 between the two navies, Ajeya Warrior between the armies in India in December, and Indradhanush 2019 between the air forces, Mitra said.

First Published: Oct 10, 2017 22:02 IST