ANI Photo | UK-India Defence Partnership more important than ever: Defence Secretary Grant Shapps

British Defence Secretary Grant Shapps has said the UK-India Defence Partnership is more important than ever and the two countries have signed historic agreements to increase joint exercises, deepen research partnerships and send UK Carrier Strike Group to India in 2025.
“The Defence Partnership between the UK and India is more important than ever. That’s why today, our two great nations have signed historic agreements to: Increase joint exercises, deepen research partnerships, send our Carrier Strike Group to India in 2025,” the UK Defence Secretary wrote on ‘X’ on Thursday.
The UK Defence Secretary on Wednesday said the UK, India are travelling in a brand new direction, so the two countries will see a lot more exchange in military hardware, software and much else because they are natural partners.
“This is a brand new direction that we are travelling in. I think we’ll see a lot more exchange, not just in military hardware, but in software too, and much else because we are natural partners,” the UK Defence Secretary said after a morning meeting with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh wherein the two spoke about bilateral defence and security issues.
Shapps said India, UK share similar interests. “Our interests actually correspond, whether it is a war taking place in Europe or in the safety of free navigation anywhere in the world, it matters to both countries.”
Pointing towards the shared history between the two countries, Shapps said: “We should be doing a lot more together. I think the meeting has set a new relationship.”
On discussions with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on the Khalistan issue, Shapps said: “We didn’t extensively get into this (in the meeting). We are looking to make sure justice is executed in a just way.”
He said the two ministers will be meeting again this year.
Earlier on Wednesday, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his British counterpart Grant Shapps attended the India-UK Defence Industry CEOs Roundtable at Trinity House in London.
“Raksha Mantri Shri @rajnathsingh and his British counterpart Mr. @grantshapps attended the India-UK Defence Industry CEOs Roundtable at Trinity House in London,” as per the Defence Minister’s official handle on ‘X’.
The UK on Wednesday announced its plans to send its Littoral Response Group to the Indian Ocean Region later this year, with plans for the Carrier Strike Group to visit in 2025. Both will operate and train with Indian forces. The announcement was made by UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps.
The UK and India also vowed to continue strengthening ties during Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s visit to the country. This comes as the first visit of an Indian Defence Minister to the UK in more than 20 years.
In a move that signals the growing importance of the strategic relationship between the UK and India, Defence Secretary Grant Shapps welcomed Singh to the UK to agree on unprecedented levels of UK-India defence cooperation, according to an official release.
The two nations also discussed future cooperation in defence from joint exercises to knowledge sharing and instructor exchanges. These steps build on the comprehensive strategic partnership envisaged in the 2030 India-UK roadmap, announced in 2021.
In the coming years, the UK and India will also embark on more complex exercises between their respective militaries, building up to a landmark joint exercise to be conducted before the end of 2030, supporting shared goals of protecting critical trade routes and upholding the international rules-based system, as per the release.
Meanwhile, Defence Secretary Shapps said: “There is absolutely no question that the world is becoming increasingly contested, so it’s vital that we continue to build on our strategic relationships with key partners like India. Together we share the same security challenges and are steadfast on our commitment to maintaining a free and prosperous Indo-Pacific.”
He said it is clear that this relationship is going from strength-to-strength, but we must continue to work hand-in-hand to uphold global security in light of threats and challenges that seek to destabilise and damage us.”
Collaboration with industry is also key in the strategic defence partnership between the UK and India, with the two nations working together on electric propulsion systems that will power our future fleets and cooperating on the development of complex weapons, Shapps said, as per the release.
The UK and India have also confirmed several new joint initiatives.
This includes signing a Letter of Arrangement that will enable further emphasis to be placed on research and development between the two nations, focused on next-generation capabilities.
This also includes solidifying an agreement on logistics exchange, allowing for the provision of logistic support, supplies and services between the United Kingdom and Indian Armed Forces, for joint training, joint exercises, authorised port visits and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations.

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