Johnson will offer Modi increased cooperation in the field of defense of the United Kingdom and India

Johnson will offer Modi increased cooperation in the field of defense of the United Kingdom and India

Boris Johnson will offer enhanced cooperation in defense of Narendra Modi during talks in New Delhi on Friday, in a bid to end India’s reliance on Russian weapons.

On the last day of his visit, the British Prime Minister will discuss the prospects for closer military ties in talks with his Indian counterpart. He has already said that he does not plan to oppose Modi because of India’s refusal to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which stock most of the country’s weapons.

Instead, talks will focus on strengthening security and defense co-operation, as well as building momentum around the ambitious goal of finalizing a free trade agreement by the end of this year.

“The world is facing growing threats from autocratic states seeking to undermine democracy, stifle free and fair trade and trample on sovereignty. The UK’s partnership with India is a beacon in these stormy seas, ”Johnson said.

The United Kingdom has said it plans to support the construction of fighter jets in India, building on previous ones cooperation on fighter jets dating back to the 1970s, and speed up the licensing process for New Delhi to procure weapons from Britain. The offer would also include more joint military exercises and exchanges of officers.

As India is preoccupied with military tensions with China, Downing Street said the UK would “support India’s demands for new technology to identify and respond to threats in the Indian Ocean”.

Lord Karan Bilimoria, the president of the CBI who traveled to India with Johnson, said he would advocate for more opportunities for British defense companies to manufacture in India.

BAE Systems, the UK’s largest defense contractor, has long-standing ties to India through its partnership with Hindustan Aeronautics, most recently on the Hawk jet trainer and attack planes.

“We have a lot of expertise and technology, whether it’s companies like BAE or Rolls-Royce – I’m just naming a couple,” Bilimoria told the Financial Times.

India’s stance on Ukraine has sparked a flurry of diplomatic activity in New Delhi in recent weeks, including high-level visits from Russia i cinema. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is also scheduled to travel to India this weekend.

Johnson sparked controversy Thursday when he visited a new JCB factory in the state of Gujarat shortly after some of the bulldozers produced by the British company were shown demolishing Muslim-owned property in the Delhi district.

The prime minister insisted that India was “democratic” and that he would raise “difficult issues” with Modi, but his spokesman said that he did not particularly mean the controversial bulldozer, which initiated the case of the Supreme Court.

Johnson’s visit to the JCB factory in Gujarat has caused controversy because a few days earlier, bulldozers produced by the company were pictured demolishing Muslim-owned property © Ben Stansall / Getty Images

Johnson posed for photos in a bulldozer after JCB owner Lord Anthony Bamford, a big Tory donor, showed him around the factory. Amnesty India, a human rights body, says the time of Johnson’s visit was “not only ignorance, but also his silence about the incident [was] deafening ”.

Johnson’s allies insisted that the new factory was “a very good illustration of British business working with India”, adding that “it is a question of the Indian authorities about how the equipment is used”. JCB declined to comment.

Johnson and Modi will also discuss trade when they meet on Friday, as they try to push a deal long ahead of the 2024 general elections in the UK and India.

The UK, which trades twice as much with Belgium as with India, claims that British companies have had problems with growth in India due to barriers such as high tariffs on everything from whiskey to car parts.

But efforts to improve trade in the past have been hampered by New Delhi’s demands for more British visas for Indian students and skilled workers.

This time, British officials have indicated that they are ready to consider greater opportunities for Indians, despite the fact that such plans will prove politically controversial. On his way to India, Johnson said Britain is facing a “huge shortage” of hundreds of thousands of workers in sectors such as IT.

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