India and Britain have agreed to boost economic and defense ties that could eventually help New Delhi wean away from its dependence on Russian weapons.
Following talks in New Delhi between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart, Boris Johnson, who is on a two-day visit to India, the two sides said they would conclude a free trade deal by October and announced a security partnership .
Referring to Modi’s push to expand domestic manufacturing of weapons, Johnson said, “We have agreed on a new and expanded defense and security partnership, a decades-long commitment that will not only build stronger bonds between us, but also make the world stronger.” Will support your goal of In India.”
Despite pressure from its Western allies such as the United States and Britain, India has taken a neutral position on the Ukraine crisis, refusing to condemn Russia or engage in sanctions imposed by Western countries.
Analysts attribute India’s stand partly to the fact that India sources most of its military equipment from its former Cold War ally.
Britain said it will ensure faster delivery of defense equipment by streamlining the licensing rules for export of military hardware to India. Officials in New Delhi called it a “welcome development”.
The UK is offering next-generation defense and security collaboration across five domains – land, sea, air, space and cyber – to address complex new threats, according to the British Embassy.
“What we are looking for is a combination of UK technology and our production base which makes it a win-win situation,” Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla told reporters.
Indian Prime Minister Modi told reporters that both sides underlined the importance of diplomacy and dialogue to resolve the Ukraine crisis.
Indian Foreign Secretary Shringla said there was no “pressure” on the stand that India had taken.
Modi said he also emphasized a “free, open, inclusive and rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific” in a clear reference to China’s aggression in the region.
The two leaders expressed enthusiasm for further strengthening of ties. Using Hindi words, Johnson referred to Modi as a ‘khas dost’ or special friend and said, “Our relationship has never been as strong or as good as it is now.”
Modi said it was “historic” that Johnson’s visit to India took place in the 75th year of independence.
Johnson said a free trade agreement, when signed, could “take trade to a new level” between the two countries. The deal is expected to double their current business of $50 billion by 2030.
The British prime minister also announced that Britain is to reopen its embassy in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, at a press conference he held after his talks with Indian leaders.
Johnson said, “The extraordinary perseverance and success of (Ukraine) President (Volodymyr) Zelensky in resisting the Russian army in Kyiv means that I can announce that very soon, next week, we will be re-establishing our embassy in the Ukrainian capital.” Will open it.”
The main British diplomatic mission was moved to the western city of Lviv in February.
Responding to a question, the British leader said it remained a “realistic possibility” that Russia could win the war in Ukraine.
“Putin has a huge army. He has a very difficult political situation because he has made a catastrophic mistake. The only option he has now is to use his sinister, grinding approach, led by artillery, to put the Ukrainians down.” Trying to grind,” Johnson told reporters.
Stating that it was important to maintain a “wave after wave” of pressure on Russia, he said Britain was looking at what it could do to reinforce the supply of military equipment, such as tanks, to Poland, so that it could reach Ukraine. to send heavy weapons. ,