Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had a meeting with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during his official visit to Great Britain. This visit is noteworthy as it marks the first visit by a sitting Indian Defence Minister to the UK in over 20 years.
Earlier on the same day, Defence Minister Singh, along with his British counterpart Grant Shapps, participated in the India-UK Defence Industry CEOs Roundtable at Trinity House in London.
A tweet from the Defence Minister’s official handle mentioned, “Raksha Mantri Shri @rajnathsingh and his British counterpart Mr. @grantshapps attended the India-UK Defence Industry CEOs Roundtable at Trinity House in London.”
The UK has revealed plans to deploy its Littoral Response Group to the Indian Ocean Region later this year, with the Carrier Strike Group scheduled to visit Indian waters in 2025. Both groups will engage in operations and training exercises alongside Indian forces.
The announcement was made by UK Defence Secretary Shapps, and during the Defence Minister’s visit, both nations expressed their commitment to enhancing ties.
The UK and India discussed future collaboration in defense, covering joint exercises, knowledge sharing, and instructor exchanges. These steps align with the comprehensive strategic partnership outlined in the 2030 India-UK roadmap unveiled in 2021.
In the coming years, the UK and India will conduct more intricate exercises between their respective militaries, culminating in a significant joint exercise before the end of 2030. This collaboration aims to safeguard critical trade routes and uphold the international rules-based system.
Defence Secretary Shapps emphasized the importance of building on strategic relationships in the face of global security challenges. He highlighted the collaboration with industry, specifically focusing on electric propulsion systems and the development of complex weapons.
The UK and India also confirmed new joint initiatives, including a Letter of Arrangement focusing on research and development for next-generation capabilities. Additionally, an agreement on logistics exchange was solidified, facilitating logistic support, supplies, and services between the UK and Indian Armed Forces for joint training, exercises, authorized port visits, and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations.
Earlier in his visit, Defence Minister Singh expressed the mutual desire of India and the UK to strengthen strategic relations. He also visited the BAPS Swaminarayan Temple (Neasden Temple) in London, underscoring the cultural connections that contribute to bilateral relations between the two countries.