Rajnath Singh set to strengthen defence and military ties during UK visit in July
New Delhi, Jun 23: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is set to travel to the UK in the first week of next month with an aim to further strengthen bilateral defence and military ties as well as pressing regional security issues, people familiar with the development said on Wednesday.
During the visit, Singh is scheduled to hold wide-ranging talks with his British counterpart Ben Wallace on ways to boost overall defence and strategic ties including in the defence manufacturing sector, they said.
In April, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart Boris Johnson agreed on a new and expanded India-UK defence partnership.
During his visit to India, Johnson announced that the UK is creating an Open General Export Licence (OGEL) for India to "reduce bureaucracy and slashing delivery times" for defence procurement.
The British prime minister also said that the UK will help India in the co-development of military hardware including indigenous production of fighter jets.
A statement issued after the talks between Modi and Johnson said the two leaders reiterated their commitment to "transform" defence and security cooperation as a key pillar of the India-UK Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
"The leaders noted the importance of robust defence industrial collaboration for manufacturing of defence equipment, systems, spare parts, components, aggregates and other related products and key capabilities, under the Make-in-India programme through co-development, indigenisation, transfer of technology and setting up of joint ventures," it said.
Days after Johnson's trip to India, British Minister of Defence Procurement Jeremy Quin visited New Delhi during which both sides focused on cooperation in areas such as aviation and ship building.