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We share same democratic instincts, values: UK Chief of Defence Staff in India

We share same democratic instincts, values: UK Chief of Defence Staff in India

The UK’s Chief of the Defence Staff, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, is in India this week for a series of high-level meetings, continuing momentum in building strategic ties between the two countries.

Admiral Radakin began his visit by paying homage to the fallen soldiers at the National War Memorial in New Delhi, ahead of a meeting with Indian counterpart General Anil Chauhan. The two chiefs are said to have reviewed progress on various pillars of the UK-India defence partnership and exchanged views to further expand ties in all the domains.

UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “India is a valued defence partner for the UK and our relationship continues to flourish across our research and industrial sectors.

“Both our nations are committed to the stability and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific and we continue to train and operate alongside our Indian partners to promote security in the region.”

Admiral Radakin also held discussions with the Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Hari Kumar; Chief of the Army Staff, General Manoj Pande; Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane; and Additional Secretary Defence Production T. Natarajan. Over the next two days of his visit, Radakin will be hosted by various establishments of the Indian armed forces across the country, with a view to boost military-to-military engagement and explore opportunities around the co-creation of future technologies.

Admiral Radakin said: “My visit to India reflects the United Kingdom’s belief that our security is indivisible from that of the wider world. As a global trading nation it matters to the UK that the Indo-Pacific is open and free, which is why the British Armed Forces is establishing the broadest and most integrated presence in the region of any European nation.

“India and the UK are natural partners in a world that is becoming more contested and volatile. We share many of the same democratic instincts and values and are both committed to the rule of law. We are respected military powers, both undergoing significant investment and modernisation, and exercising together across, land, sea and air. But we can do more.”

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The British government said the UK and India share a strong and enduring defence relationship, including collaboration in research, development and training. It noted that discussions around industrial collaboration in the aerospace sector have been progressing following the signing of an updated memorandum of understanding (MoU) in 2019, with the UK’s Minister for Defence Procurement visiting in February and the First Sea Lord visiting in March.

The visit of the UK Chief of Defence Staff also coincides with the visit of the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) of the Royal Air Force, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston. The visit of two of the senior-most officers of the UK’s armed forces exemplifies the importance with which the UK holds its defence and security partnership with India, the UK government said.

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The Royal Navy, British Army, and Royal Air Force are all carrying out exercises with their Indian equivalents this year, developing interoperability and joint tactics. In recent weeks, HMS Lancaster visited Kochi to train alongside the Indian Navy as part of Exercise Konkan, while five Mirage 2000 fighters were flown by Indian Air Force pilots in the Royal Air Force’s largest aerial exercise in the UK – Exercise Cobra Warrior.

Later this month, soldiers from the Indian Army will deploy to the UK to take part in Exercise Ajeya Warrior, training alongside the British Army.

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