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India, UK Collaborate on Military Tech and Secure Cyberspaces

India and the United Kingdom recently announced they would expand bilateral defence cooperation, including through technology collaboration, in developing combat aircraft and complex weapons. The agreement was made during a virtual summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart Boris Johnson.

According to news reports, a ten-year roadmap was unveiled at the summit to boost overall India-UK ties. Under it, the two countries will strengthen cooperation to take “decisive and concerted actions” against globally proscribed terrorists and terror entities. They also agreed to increase maritime co-operation while India invited the UK’s liaison officer to the Indian Navy’s information fusion centre, a key facility that monitors the developments and movement of ships in the Indian Ocean region.

The roadmap will also broaden the dialogue on “combat air collaboration to determine how the UK can support India’s ambitions for their light combat air MK2 programme”. A statement explained that both prime ministers agreed to deepen their defence and security cooperation through the India-UK defence and international security partnership framework and welcomed the finalisation of the new logistics memorandum of understanding (MoU).

It said the two leaders agreed that there is a promising new era ahead for India-UK collaboration on key military technologies including combat aircraft, maritime propulsion systems, and complex weapons, harnessing the strengths of Indian and British industries, government laboratories, and academia.

The statement said such collaborations will help in delivering the next generation defence and security capabilities through co-development and co-production. The Joint Secretary in the Europe West division in the Ministry of External Affairs, Sandeep Chakravorty, said at a media briefing that the two sides discussed the co-development and co-production of military hardware.

They agreed to increase maritime co-operation, inviting the UK’s Liaison Officer to India’s information fusion centre, establishing an annual India-UK maritime dialogue, and strengthening operational coordination, the statement said.

“During the deployment of the UK’s Carrier Strike Group in the Indian Ocean Region in 2021, they agreed to hold joint exercises that will deepen cooperation in a region of critical strategic importance to both countries,” it said. The roadmap said India and the UK will work in a strategic partnership to strengthen efforts to tackle cyberspace crime and terrorist threats and develop a free, open, and secure Indo-Pacific region.

“Our shared interests will underpin greater cooperation in multilateral fora where a strengthened UK India relationship will build understanding among diverse partners on international security and will help set global rules for cybersecurity and space taking into account their respective interests,” it said.

The two sides will aim to further enhance cooperation to promote international security and stability in cyberspace including through bilateral cooperation on critical national infrastructure, healthcare, and vaccines.

The joint statement said both leaders reiterated their full support to a free, open, peaceful, and secure cyberspace and agreed to strengthen cooperation through an enhanced India-UK cybersecurity partnership to tackle growing cyber threats.

The statement noted that they affirmed their shared vision of an open, free, inclusive, and rules-based Indo-Pacific region. Underpinned by respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty, rule of law, transparency, freedom of navigation, and overflight in the international seas. Unimpeded lawful commerce and peaceful resolution of disputes.

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