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Rajnath Singh Meet with UK PM During London Visit

Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh met with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in London on Wednesday.

The Defense Minister is now on an official visit to the United Kingdom. The visit is the first by a sitting Indian Defence Minister to the UK in over 20 years.

Earlier in the day, Defence Minister Singh and his British counterpart, Grant Shapps, attended the India-UK Defence Industry CEOs Roundtable at Trinity House, London.

“Raksha Mantri Shri @rajnathsingh and his British counterpart Mr. @grantshapps attended the India-UK Defence Industry CEOs Roundtable at Trinity House in London,” said a post on the Defence Minister’s official ‘X’ handle.

The UK has revealed intentions to send its Littoral Response Group to the Indian Ocean Region later this year, with a proposal for the Carrier Strike Group to visit Indian seas in 2025. Both will operate and train alongside Indian military.

The statement was made by UK Defence Secretary Shapps.

During the Defence Minister’s visit to the nation, the UK and India committed to maintain developing ties.

According to an official announcement, defense Secretary Shapps welcomed Singh to the UK and the two leaders agreed on unprecedented levels of UK-India defense cooperation, indicating the rising importance of the strategic partnership between the two countries.

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, it added.

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.

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 was quoted as saying in the release.

The United Kingdom and India also announced many new cooperative ventures.

These include a Letter of Arrangement, which will allow the two countries to place a greater emphasis on research and development, particularly in terms of next-generation capabilities.

They also include cementing an agreement on logistics exchange, enabling for the supply of logistic support, supplies, and services between the United Kingdom and Indian Armed Forces, as well as joint training, joint exercises, authorized port visits, and humanitarian assistance and disaster Relief (HADR) operations.

Earlier, on Tuesday, Defence Minister Singh stated that both India and the United Kingdom seek strong strategic connections and are working toward that.

“Both India and the UK want strong strategic relations. We want to strengthen the comprehensive strategic relations,” Singh, who is currently on an official visit to the UK, said.

On Tuesday, the Raksha Mantri visited the BAPS Swaminarayan Temple (Neasden Temple) in London. The Hindu temple is Europe’s first real and traditionally constructed Hindu shrine.

Mr Singh performed Abishek Puja at the shrine, according to reports.

Mr Singh’s visit to the Neasden Temple also underlined the significance of cultural connections in bilateral relations between the two countries.

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