New Delhi, April 15 (IANS) Indias defence cooperation with the UK is set to receive a boost with the two countries renewing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) amid their keenness to identify mutual capability needs and collaborate in the areas of defence and security.
The Defence Equipment Cooperation MoU renews the one signed on April 1, 1997, which was subsequently renewed on April 2007.
“The signing of this Memorandum of Understanding underpins the collaboration between our two nations, building on our defence ties, and ensuring our nations are able to combat emerging threats for generations to come,” said UK Defence Minister Stuart Andrew.
By collaborating and exploiting procurement opportunities together, both nations will be able to benefit from technological and manufacturing capabilities and support long-term cooperation between their defence and security industries, a statement issued by the British High Commission said on Monday.
The pact was signed by Air Marshal Richard Knighton on behalf of the UK Ministry of Defence and Barun Mitra, Additional Secretary Defence Production in the Ministry of Defence on behalf of the Indian government, said the High Commission statement.
“As major world economies, Britain and India both have a proud global maritime history, with impressive futures ahead,” Andrew said, according to the statement.
At bilateral defence and security equipment talks in London last week, the two nations agreed to re-double efforts to identify mutual defence and security capability needs and collaborate on solutions, it said.
The agreement, which marks a step change in India and the United Kingdom’s defence relationship, comes after a visit by India’s Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Sunil Lanba, to HMS Queen Elizabeth in Portsmouth last month. It also follows HMS Dragon’s visit to Goa in December last year, where the ship took part in the longstanding naval exercise, The Konkan Series.
In addition to the bilateral talks last week, UK and Indian industry met to discuss how they would forge deeper and broader partnerships to contribute to these efforts.
“I am delighted that the Ministries of Defence of India and the United Kingdom have signed this Memorandum of Understanding,” Minister of State for Trade and Export Promotion Baroness Fairhead said.
“This agreement will help us develop closer, mutually beneficial relationships between our respective defence and security industries,” Fairhead added.
The signing of the MoU significantly comes at a time when India and Pakistan have been witnessing tensions in the aftermath of the ghastly Pulwama terror attack carried out by Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM).