Soldiers from the British Army's Iron Division participating in the sixth edition of India-UK joint company level military training exercise 'Ajeya Warrior' at Chaubatia in Uttarakhand, last year (Image courtesy: Twitter/@3rdUKDivision)
India and Britain continue to forge a path for stronger military ties with the creation of a new Defence Industry Joint Working Group (JWG) for more effective cooperation.
Defence industry organisations from India and the United Kingdom which came together to create the initiative held the inaugural meeting on the sidelines of DefExpo 2022 in Gandhinagar in Gujarat on Tuesday.
The JWG is part of an ongoing initiative between the two countries to strengthen the defence and security partnership through industrial collaboration.
The UK has made it clear that it sees developing the security and defence relationship with “like-minded” partner India, the world’s largest democracy, as a key part of its Indo-Pacific tilt.
As many as 20 British defence companies are participating in the 12th edition of Asia’s largest defence event which outlines Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of a ‘New India’ that not only caters to its own needs but also fulfils international requirements.
The UK industry is already integrating Indian defence suppliers into its global supply chain. In July, the country issued its first Open General Export License (OGEL) in the Indo-Pacific region to India, shortening delivery times for defence procurement.
Meanwhile, the Royal Air Force (RAF) recently conducted a subject matter expertise exchange with Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) during the visit of Eurofighter Typhoon, Voyager and A400 in New Delhi and also held joint-flying exercises with the Indian Air Force (IAF).
Defence Secretary @drajaykumar_ias co-chaired the India-UK Defence Consultative Group (DCG) meeting in London, with his counterpart Mr. David Williams @PermSecMOD. They reviewed the progress of various Service level bilateral groups and other defence cooperation mechanisms. pic.twitter.com/Pjv6PDiQsR
— India in the UK (@HCI_London) October 4, 2022
Alex Ellis, the British High Commissioner to India, said that the UK supports PM Modi’s ambitions of Make in India, Make for the World.
“A stronger UK-India defence relationship is an essential element of the British and Indian governments’ Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. The British Government and industry presence at DefExpo is further proof of this, as is our support for co-creation of next generation capabilities that will be fully owned by India,” he said in a statement.
Honoured to be present at the commissioning of #INSVikrant by @narendramodi – a great day for 🇮🇳 @indiannavy & for open & free seas pic.twitter.com/grxwUQDNXz
— Alex Ellis (@AlexWEllis) September 2, 2022
The UK, a world leader in critical defence technologies such as jet engine developments and electric propulsion technology, stated that it is keen to share the expertise with India supported by respective industries.
While the JWG will establish a strong partnership between the respective navies for development of Electric Propulsion capability for India, companies like Rolls Royce have established packaging, installation, marketing and services support for Rolls-Royce MT30 marine engines in India through a partnership with the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) and Thales UK have signed an agreement to produce the next generation of Very Short Range Air Defence (VSHORAD) missiles in India, supplying to both the UK and Indian Armies with a ‘Made in India’ Laser Beam Riding MANPAD System.
MBDA Missile Systems UK has also established live build capability for the Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM) in partnership with BDL.
“This is another step in the growing defence relations between the two countries, who are working to establish a portfolio of collaborative projects to support the development of new technologies and capabilities as agreed under the 2030 Roadmap. The UK sees it is in its own interest that India becomes self-reliant in its defence needs,” said Mark Goldsack, Director, UK Defence and Security Exports.
Just about the same time last year, when HMS Queen Elizabeth – the largest and most powerful vessel ever constructed for the British Navy – was visiting Mumbai with her Carrier Strike Group (CSG) escorts, UK Navy chief Admiral Tony Radakin, it’s Chief of Defence Staff Nick Carter and country’s Foreign Secretary Liz Truss were in New Delhi forging closer diplomatic, defence and security partnership with India.
Truss is now the country’s Prime Minister and Radakin the British military chief as both countries remain committed to the landmark 2030 Roadmap on maritime security, cyber security and counter-terrorism signed last year.
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