NEW DELHI: India and the United Kingdom on Tuesday said they will deepen strategic cooperation in the Indo-Pacific and jointly face “common security threats” amid China’s muscle flexing in the region. Britain became the second major European nation after France deepen security cooperation with India in the Indo-Pacific region in the last two months.
Earlier today, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar encompassed talks with British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab with a focus on five key areas, including defense and security.
Speaking of growing compatibility in strategic ties, the British foreign minister said a closer relationship with India and the wider Indo-Pacific region is one of the “very high political priorities” for the British government.
Raab also said his government is committed to building a stronger defense and security partnership with India, adding that it will help address common concerns such as terrorism and mara security as well as piracy in the Western Indian Ocean.
He said the UK also wants to work with India to strengthen and further secure 5G networks.
“It will also help us respond to the new and emerging challenges such as space and cybersecurity. We want to work together to ensure our telecommunications networks, our 5G networks, are more secure and resilient,” he said.
The statement assumes significance as Britain aims to build a 5G club of 10 democracies, including India, amid growing security concerns over Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei. It also announced a complete removal of Huawei from its 5G network.
Jaishankar, in his remarks, said, “As democratic fellowships, market economies and pluralistic societies, we can, must and will make a difference to the realization of a rule-based global order.”
Meanwhile, the two sides also agreed on the key elements of an ambitious 10-year roadmap to further broaden ties.
“We have agreed on the key elements of a 10-year roadmap UK-India so that we can make a step change in ambition for the relationship between our two countries. We look forward to promoting this in 2021 – including through the UK Presidency of the G7 and also our Presidency of the UN Conference on Climate Change, ”Raab said.
Earlier today, Raab confirmed that British prime minister Boris Johnson accepted the invitation of India to participate in the celebrations of the Republican Day the 26 of January like the main guest.
According to Downing Street, Johnson said his visit to India will mark the start of an “exciting year” for Global Britain and give a “quantitative leap” in the bilateral ties.
“As a key player in the Indo-Pacific region, India is an increasingly indispensable partner for the UK as we work to accelerate jobs and growth, face common threats to our security and protect our planet,” Johnson said.
India and several other nations have intensified efforts to combat expanding China in the Indo-Pacific region.
Last month the Quad Group, which consists of India, the United States, Australia and Japan, ended the juggling ship exercise in the region with the aim of sending a clear message to China. It was the first time in 13 years that all four nations had participated in the mega war games.
(With agency inputs)