The Prime Ministers of UK and India have agreed a shared vision for a UK-India defence partnership including collaboration between the two countries on India’s FCAS requirements

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson have laid out a roadmap aimed at advancing the relationship between the countries to a new level, with a particular focus on maritime and industrial collaboration. In a statement issued by the British High Commission in New Delhi, the leaders reaffirmed the benefits of closer co-operation within the Indo-Pacific, recognising a shared interest in regional prosperity and stability. The two countries are working to conclude a Logistics Memorandum of Understanding which will enhance the joint ability of the two countries to tackle shared challenges.

Countries working towards ‘2030 roadmap’

The statement said the countries had agreed to build on existing government-to-government collaboration on India’s future combat air engine requirement. As part of a ‘2030 Roadmap’, they agreed to work closely together in support of India’s indigenous development of the Light Combat Aircraft Mark 2. Potential for further industrial collaboration in areas such as maritime propulsion, space and cyber, were also discussed marking the start of what the statement described as a “new era of UK-India research, capability and industrial collaboration on Indian combat air and beyond.”

The new agreement builds upon one previously signed between Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and Rolls Royce to move aspects of the manufacture of the MT30 Gas Turbine engine to India, supporting PM Modi’s Make in India initiative. The MT30 is an engine employed widely in navies around the world and is the basis of the UK’s Integrated Electric Propulsion system that powers the Queen Elizabeth Class Carriers.

UK Minister for Defence Procurement, Jeremy Quin MP, said: “The UK and India enjoy a strong defence and security relationship. We remain committed to close collaboration with India as we both adapt to meet future threats and look to innovate our defence equipment programmes and systems.”

“Shared ambitions for partnership”

British High Commissioner to India, Alex Ellis, said: “The UK and India are natural partners in defence and security. Today’s announcements underline our shared ambition for that partnership, enhancing cooperation, building joint expertise and accelerating industrial cooperation, building up to the arrival of our new aircraft carrier and its accompanying ships to India this autumn.”

The UK’s Carrier Strike Group 2021, led by HMS Queen Elizabeth, will sail to India in the autumn on its maiden operational deployment. The UK Integrated Review into foreign, defence, development and security policy, was published last month – the statement added that the document “committed the UK to becoming the European country with the broadest, most integrated presence in the Indo-Pacific in support of trade, shared security and values.”

The UK and India have agreed to significant new co-operation on Maritime Domain Awareness, which includes new agreements on maritime information sharing, an invitation to the UK to join India’s Information Fusion Centre in Gurgaon and an ambitious exercise programme including joint tri-lateral exercises.

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