India-UK to expand defence ties

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New Delhi, April 13 (IANS) India and the United Kingdom on Thursday agreed to expand thier defence ties with focus on defence industry, counter terrorism, training and maritime security.

“The renewed engagement will place capability and technology development at its core and seek to harness the complementary strengths of both nations in defence manufacturing and use the combined strengths of their respective private and public sectors to develop defence solutions for use in both home and shared export markets,” said a joint statement after the India-UK delegation-level talks on Thursday.

The Indian delegation was headed by Defence Minister Arun Jaitley and the UK side was led by Michael Fallon, UK Secretary of State for Defence, who is on a four-day visit to India during April 11-14.

According to the statement, India and the UK will continue to engage each other over global security, especially on international terrorism with the intent of making a more secure world.

On the maritime security, Jaitley and Fallon agreed to strengthen their interaction and improve exchange of information in the maritime domain to track terrorist and pirate vessels.

“The two sides will also develop cooperation in the field of Hydrography,” the statement said.

“Both sides will develop capability partnerships, sharing best practices in the areas of counter terrorism (CT), Counter Improvised Explosive Devices (CIED), air force training, air total safety, aircraft carriers, maritime safety, shipbuilding and UN peacekeeping.

“The Ministers tasked the relevant Executive Steering Groups (ESGs) to finalise proposals for consideration at the next DCG (Defence Consultative Group) meeting scheduled later this year,” it said.

Acknowledging the British interest in manufacturing in India, Jaitley welcomed the recent announcements including the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Bharat Dynamics Ltd and Thales UK on technology transfer opportunities for missile systems and efforts to develop an Advanced Hawk jet trainer jointly by the BAE Systems and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

During the talks, the two ministers agreed to expand the MoU on Defence Equipment Cooperation that will allow the British and Indian industries to transfer technology in the areas of mutual interest.

“The two Ministers recognised the potential for further cooperation in defence manufacturing between the UK and Indian companies under the ‘Make in India’ framework,” the statement said.

India-UK would explore establishing a secure communications method in order to share classified material, it added.

–IANS

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