Want To Build Closer Defence Cooperation With India: UK Foreign Secretary

UK Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss said India is a key ally

Mumbai:

The UK aims to build closer defence and intelligence cooperation arrangements with India, Britain’s Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss told NDTV on Saturday.

A day after a meeting with India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar in New Delhi, Ms Truss said that her visit is aimed at forging stronger security and defence links with India, the world’s largest democracy, as a key part of the UK’s Indo-Pacific strategy. She also said that India is a key ally of AUKUS, a trilateral security pact between Australia, the UK, and the US.

“What we do want to do is build a closer defense and intelligence cooperation arrangements with India. And I was in Delhi yesterday talking with Minister Jaishankar about precisely that,” she said.

“And who knows how things might develop. I know, of course, that Australia is also a key ally of India, as is the United States. So we’re certainly very keen to broaden our relationships to deepen our relationships with key allies that we trust,” Ms Truss added.

After she met with Mr Jaishankar in Delhi, Ms Truss headed to Mumbai and visited the HMS Queen Elizabeth ship. The HMS Queen Elizabeth ship is the spearhead of the Carrier Strike Group (CSG), which is dubbed a symbol of the UK’s world-leading defence capability.

While in India, the CSG is taking part in the most “demanding exercise ever” undertaken between the UK and India, involving all three military services.

Ms Truss said that the UK wants to build deeper ties with India, which go beyond economic relationships. “The trade deal with India is really important. But it’s important that those economic relationships are backed up with security relationships. And I want the relationship with India to go deeper. And I see these relationships as complementary,” she said adding that the UK was working together with India.

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