Foreign Secretary holds talks with British side on defence, security

The 15th India-UK Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) were held here on Monday, in which the Indian delegation was led by Vinay Mohan Kwatra, Foreign Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, while Philip Barton, Permanent Under-Secretary, Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), represented the British side.

In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs said, “India and the UK share a comprehensive strategic partnership, with the adoption of Roadmap 2030 for future relations. The FOC provided an opportunity to review the progress made in the implementation of Roadmap 2030 despite the restrictions imposed by the Covid-pandemic. “

Both sides discussed issues like trade and economic cooperation, defence and security, science and technology, people-to-people relationship, health and climate change.

“It was appreciated that letters formalising the Young Professional Scheme were exchanged on the occasion of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas on January 9 in London. The scheme would be launched on February 28. Both sides aspire to early conclusion of a balanced and comprehensive India-UK FTA that may intensify the economic engagement between the fifth and the sixth biggest global economies,” the statement said.

Both sides exchanged views on regional and global issues of mutual interest, including Afghanistan, Ukraine, the Indo-Pacific, Commonwealth and United Nations.

The UK appreciated India’s contribution at UN Security Council in 2021-22 as a non-permanent member and reiterated its support for UNSC reforms. It also commended India’s priorities as President of G20 this year as it looks forward to its participation.

Both sides agreed to maintain regular exchanges at political and senior official levels and hold the next FOC in London in 2024.

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