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India and UK Strengthen Defence Ties Through Bilateral Meeting and Agreements

India and UK Strengthen Defence Ties Through Bilateral Meeting and Agreements

London: Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh engaged in a significant bilateral meeting with UK Defence Minister Mr Grant Shapps in London, marking a step towards reinforcing the defence collaboration between the two nations. The meeting, held on January 9, was characterized by warmth and saw a fruitful exchange of ideas on various defence, security, and cooperation matters.

During the discussions, both Ministers emphasized the need to enhance defence industrial collaboration, recognizing the growing strategic convergence between India and the UK, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region. Mr Grant Shapps underscored that the relationship between the two nations is not transactional but is based on shared goals and commonalities, emphasizing the natural partnership between the UK and India.

Following the bilateral meeting, India and the UK signed two crucial agreements. The first agreement is a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the conduct of a bilateral international cadet exchange programme, aimed at fostering people-to-people exchanges, particularly among the youth. The second agreement is a Letter of Arrangement between Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) of India and the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), focusing on defence collaboration in research and development.

These agreements mark a significant stride in the defence relationship, fostering collaboration not only in defence strategies but also in youth engagement and research development. The MoU on the cadet exchange program aims to strengthen ties at a grassroots level, enabling a deeper understanding between the two countries.

Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh’s visit to London commenced on January 8. The visit started with paying floral tributes to Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation, at his statue in Tavistock Square. The symbolic significance of January 9 as the date of Mahatma Gandhi’s return from South Africa to Mumbai in 1915 was highlighted, commemorating this event in the form of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in India. This date symbolizes the rich contributions of the Overseas Indian community towards India’s development.

The Raksha Mantri was accorded a ceremonial Guard of Honour at the Horse Guards Parade Ground before the bilateral meeting with the UK Defence Minister, underscoring the importance of the visit in strengthening defence ties and fostering collaborative initiatives.

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