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    India, UK Set to Enhance Defense Partnership

    © AFP 2019 / Tauseef MUSTAFA
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    India and Britain on Thursday agreed to a comprehensive defense partnership which will encompass not only cooperation in defense industry but also stronger military-to-military engagement, including training and advanced joint exercises.

    NEW DELHI (Sputnik) — The two countries held defense and strategic talks where the UK side was led by its Defense Secretary Michael Fallon and the Indian delegation was headed by Indian Defense Minister Arun Jaitley.

    India and UK agreed on several important issues to strengthen cooperation in the defense sector.

    The renewed engagement will place capability and technology development at its core and seek to harness strengths in defense manufacturing and use the combined strengths of their respective private and public sectors to develop defense solutions for use in both homes and shared export markets, a joint statement issued after the talks said.

    According to the statement, both the defense ministers will also continue to consult and coordinate policies across a range of global security challenges, especially those intended to eliminate the scourge of international terrorism, in pursuit of their shared goal of a more secure world.

    Both India and UK agreed to further strengthen their naval and maritime interactions, including enhanced Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) through the bilateral technical agreement to exchange information to track terrorist and pirate vessels, a key deliverable of the Defense and International Security Partnership (DISP).

    The two Ministers also agreed to further develop cooperation between the UK Hydrographic Office and the Indian Navy Hydrographic Office.

    India and the UK also agreed to build a range of capability partnerships focusing on varied aspects of military effectiveness such as specialized training interactions and exchange of best practices in the following areas — counterterrorism (CT), counter improvised explosive devices (CIED), air force training, air total safety, aircraft carriers, maritime safety, shipbuilding and UN peacekeeping.

    Both India and UK will chart out new areas of cooperation in defense manufacturing between the UK and Indian companies under the Make in India framework.

    "India is looking for a partner to upgrade its defense manufacturing capabilities, therefore, offer from the British side will be a good proposition for India. Britain is interested in technology transfer as well as a joint production of choppers for the Indian Navy. The UK is also likely to offer electronic warfare suits for the army," Colonel (Rtd) Danvir Singh told Sputnik.

    To further encourage and facilitate cooperation between the UK and Indian companies, the two ministers agreed to extend the current defense equipment cooperation MoU and work towards early completion of an expanded MoU, that will provide a platform for the UK and Indian industries to collaborate on and support transfer of technology on projects in areas of mutual interest.

    The two ministers welcomed measures to ensure life-cycle support and sustenance of UK-origin defense platforms used by India, which may include setting up joint ventures and other collaborative arrangements, India-UK joint statement said.

    The UK and India will encourage interactions between the Indian Army Design Bureau and Defence Equipment and Support and Army Capability Branch through their Defense Equipment Sub-Group.

    "The fact is that Britain is very interested in establishing robust defense partnership with India and wants to make defense cooperation an essential part of their bilateral relationship," Singh said.

    cooperation, defense, India, United Kingdom