Strengthening security and defense ties with India and the interests of all countries reducing strategic dependence on Russia in the wake of the Ukraine conflict will be the focus of discussions when British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss arrives in New Delhi today.
The UK Office for Foreign Affairs, Commonwealth and Development (FCDO) said the high -level ministerial visit was part of a broader diplomatic effort and ahead of next week’s NATO and G7 meetings to address “Russian aggression on Ukraine”.
The minister wants to oppose Russian aggression and reduce global strategic dependence on the country and his agenda includes continuing talks to develop defense -related trade with India, including innovative security technologies, to strengthen defense ties with the world’s largest democracy.
“Closer ties between Britain and India will improve security in the Indo-Pacific and globally, and create jobs and opportunities in both countries,” Ms Truss said, ahead of her visit-expected to be a short all-day visit.
“This is all the more important in the context of Russia’s unprovoked aggression on Ukraine and underscores the need for a free democracy to work more closely in areas such as defense, trade and cybersecurity. India is an economic and technological power, the world’s largest democracy and a great country. Britain’s partner, and I want to build closer ties between our two countries, ”he said.
In his meeting with Foreign Minister S Jaishankar, the minister would say that Russia’s actions in Ukraine underscore the importance of democracies working more closely to “deter aggression, reduce vulnerability to coercion and strengthen global security”.
The ministers will continue their speeches at the India-UK Strategic Futures Forum on Thursday to set their vision for long-term relations between the two countries.
As part of the Enhanced Cyber Partnership agreed in the UK-India Roadmap 2030, UK ministers are set to announce a new joint cyber security program with the aim of protecting online infrastructure in both countries from attacks. Under the initiative, India and the UK will work together to improve cybersecurity and conduct joint exercises to train against threats from cybercriminals and hostage software, the FCDO said.
The UK will also confirm plans to hold its first Strategic Technology Dialogue, a ministerial -level summit on emerging technologies, during his visit.
In terms of energy, the visiting Foreign Secretary will confirm British International Investment (BII) funding of GBP 70 million to support the use of renewable energy in India, aimed at helping India build renewable energy capacity and develop solar energy in the region. Plans for a new platform to enable British investors to bid on green infrastructure, technology and business opportunities in India are also set for confirmation.
The current uncertainty in oil and gas prices as well as energy security concerns, as a result of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, underscore the importance of India’s green transition and move towards energy self-sufficiency, the FCDO said.
Closer maritime cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, which involves the UK joining the Indian Indo-Pacific Ocean Initiative and being a key partner on maritime security issues and coordinating work with key partners in Southeast Asia, is also on the ministry’s agenda.
“This stronger partnership on maritime security was built on a visit to India last year by HMS Queen Elizabeth and Carrier Strike Group (CSG) – a symbol of the UK’s world’s leading defense capabilities. CSG took part in the most challenging exercise ever between the UK and India, involving all three military services, ”the FCDO said.
This will mark the second trip to India by Truss as Foreign Secretary, following his visit in October 2021, which he previously visited in his role as Secretary of Commerce.
The FCDO stressed that strengthening relations with India has been a “priority” for the Foreign Secretary, with a focus on the ongoing free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations between the two countries.
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