Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Meets UK PM Rishi Sunak In London

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Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Meets UK PM Rishi Sunak In London

Rajnath-Rishi Sunak meet: Rajnath Singh called on UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in London

London:

Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh called on UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in London on Wednesday.

The Defence Minister is currently on an official visit to Great Britain. The visit marks the first visit by a sitting Indian Defence Minister to the UK in more than 20 years.

Earlier in the day, Defence Minister Singh and his British counterpart Grant Shapps attended the India-UK Defence Industry CEOs Roundtable at Trinity House in London.

“Raksha Mantri Shri @rajnathsingh and his British counterpart Mr. @grantshapps attended the India-UK Defence Industry CEOs Roundtable at Trinity House in London,” read a post on the Defence Minister’s official handle on ‘X’.

The UK announced its plans to send its Littoral Response Group to the Indian Ocean Region later this year, with a proposal for the Carrier Strike Group to visit the Indian waters in 2025. Both will operate and train with Indian forces.

The announcement was made by UK Defence Secretary Shapps.

The UK and India also vowed to continue strengthening ties during Defence Minister visit to the country.

In a move that signals the growing importance of the strategic relationship between the UK and India, Defence Secretary Shapps welcomed Singh to the UK and the two leaders agreed on unprecedented levels of UK-India defence cooperation, according to an official release.

The two nations also discussed future cooperation in defence from joint exercises to knowledge sharing and instructor exchanges. These steps build on the comprehensive strategic partnership envisaged in the 2030 India-UK roadmap, announced in 2021, it added.

In the coming years, the UK and India will also embark on more complex exercises between their respective militaries, building up to a landmark joint exercise to be conducted before the end of 2030, supporting shared goals of protecting critical trade routes and upholding the international rules-based system, as per the release.

Defence Secretary Shapps said, “There is absolutely no question that the world is becoming increasingly contested, so it’s vital that we continue to build on our strategic relationships with key partners like India. Together we share the same security challenges and are steadfast on our commitment to maintaining a free and prosperous Indo-Pacific.”

He said it is clear that “this relationship is going from strength-to-strength, but we must continue to work hand-in-hand to uphold global security in light of threats and challenges that seek to destabilise and damage us”.

“Collaboration with industry is also key in the strategic defence partnership between the UK and India, with the two nations working together on electric propulsion systems that will power our future fleets and cooperating on the development of complex weapons,” Shapps was quoted as saying further in the release.

The UK and India also confirmed several new joint initiatives.

These include a Letter of Arrangement that will enable further emphasis to be placed on research and development between the two nations, focused on next-generation capabilities.

They also include solidifying an agreement on logistics exchange, allowing for the provision of logistic support, supplies and services between the United Kingdom and Indian Armed Forces, for joint training, joint exercises, authorised port visits and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations.

Eearlier, on Tuesday, Defence Minister Singh on Tuesday said both India and the UK desire strong strategic relations and are working towards that.

“Both India and the UK want strong strategic relations. We want to strengthen the comprehensive strategic relations,” Singh, who is currently on an official visit to the UK, said.

Also, on Tuesday, the Raksha Mantri paid a visit to the BAPS Swaminarayan Temple (Neasden Temple) in London. The Hindu temple is Europe’s first authentic and traditionally built Hindu shrine.

Mr Singh offered Abishek Puja at the temple, according to sources.

Mr Singh’s visit to the Neasden Temple also underlined the significance of cultural connections in bilateral relations between the two countries.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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