Army Chief General MM Naravane left on a four-day visit to Italy and the United Kingdom on Monday. These visits by the Indian Army chief mark an ongoing process in India’s outreach to important partner countries and signals India’s increasing importance in the wider global community as a significant player and a net security provider in the Indo-Pacific.
During the visit, he will be meeting his counterparts and the senior military leadership of these countries.
Both countries are important partners for India in the fields of defence, healthcare, aerospace, education, clean technology, renewable energy and information and communication technology among others.
The visit to the United Kingdom is scheduled for two days (July 5 and July 6) during which General Naravane will interact with the British Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of General Staff, the Minister of State for Defence and other dignitaries.
India and the United Kingdom have a Strategic Partnership since 2004 and enjoy a multi-faceted relationship spanning across trade and economy, health, science and technology, defence and security, people-to-people relations, climate change and close cooperation on multilateral issues.
The UK considers India as a key pillar in its Indo-Pacific strategy and the two countries are looking at expanding and formalising defence agreements, participation in joint military exercises and military modernisation.
During the second leg of his tour (July 7 and July 8), the Army Chief will be holding important discussions with the Chief of Defence Staff and Chief of Staff of the Italian Army.
Additionally, the Indian Army will also inaugurate the Indian Army Memorial in the famous town of Cassino and will be briefed at the Italian Army’s Counter IED Centre of Excellence at Cecchingola, Rome. India and Italy maintain strong bonds based on mutual respect for democracy, human rights and sovereignty.
Italian defence firms have expressed keen interest in taking a proactive part in the “Make in India” initiative of the Indian Government. Italy has also pushed for a central role for India in the European Union’s Indo-Pacific Initiative, which is congruent with India’s own vision for the region, encapsulated in the Prime Minister’s call for SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region).