Defence Secretary Agrees Closer Cooperation with India
(Source: UK Ministry of Defence; issued April 13, 2017)
The Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon visited India this week to strengthen UK-Indian defence and security relations.

Sir Michael attended today the first meeting as part of the 2015 Defence and International Security Partnership (DISP), with his Indian counterpart Arun Jaitley.

The pair discussed UK-Indian defence industries, upcoming exercises and global security among other topics. The Defence counterparts jointly set out their ambitions to design, make, exercise, transform, train and co-operate together. They reaffirmed their intent for a stronger, deeper, wider relationship that delivers growth and jobs in the UK and India, improves regional security and supports both nations’ interests globally.

UK Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said: “As Britain steps up globally, we continue to develop our close security partnership with India. Our countries are recognised globally as leaders in defence and we remain steadfast in our commitment to regional security, growing our defence industries and supporting our mutual interests.”

“Our nations face the same threats and we will work closely together to harness British expertise and Indian brain power to develop cutting edge technologies and equipment that benefit both of our Armed Forces.”

The Defence Secretary visited Mumbai and Delhi over three days. During the visit, Sir Michael laid a wreath at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai to commemorate the 2008 terror attacks, visited an Indian Naval ship, delivered speeches at two think tank events and laid a wreath at Delhi’s India Gate to honour Indians who fought and died in the First World War.

Today’s meeting between the Defence Ministers marked the inaugural annual UK-India Strategic Defence Dialogue, as laid out in the DISP. The DISP agreed to Capability Partnerships to help collaborate with Indian industry under the Make in India agenda and Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin addressed the Make in India Conference in February this year.

Over the past decade, the UK has exported £2.15 billion of defence equipment and services to India. From learning from each other on joint aircraft carrier journeys, to collaboration on defence science and technology projects, the UK and India are elevating their partnership, bringing greater opportunities for their respective defence industries and Armed Forces.

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Joint Statement on India-United Kingdom Defence Partnership
(Source: Indian Ministry of Defence; issued April 13, 2017)
The UK Secretary of State for Defence Sir Michael Fallon is on a four-day visit to India from April 11, 2017. The India-UK delegation level talks were held here today where the UK side was led by Sir Michael Fallon while the Indian delegation was headed by the Defence Minister Shri Arun Jaitley.

Following is the text of the Joint Statement issued after the talks:

“Minister of Defence Shri Arun Jaitley and Secretary of State for Defence Sir Michael Fallon set out a shared vision for the India-UK Defence Partnership.

At the invitation of Minister of Defence Shri Arun Jaitley, the Secretary of State for Defence Sir Michael Fallon visited India for the India-UK Strategic Defence Dialogue during 11-14 April 2017. The visit reaffirmed and consolidated UK-India defence cooperation in the framework of the Defence and International Security Partnership, agreed in November 2015, and the subsequent Joint Statement between the Governments of India and the UK in November 2016.

This enduring defence partnership will encompass not only cooperation in defence industry but also stronger military to military engagement, including training and advanced joint exercises.

The renewed engagement will place capability and technology development at its core and seek to harness the complementary strengths of both nations in defence manufacturing and use the combined strengths of their respective private and public sectors to develop defence solutions for use in both home and shared export markets.

The Defence Ministers will also continue to consult and co-ordinate policies across a range of global security challenges, especially those intended to eliminate the scourge of international terrorism, in pursuit of their shared goal of a more secure world.

AN ENHANCED DEFENCE PARTNERSHIP

Based on the Defence and International Security Partnership (DISP) and building on existing Defence Consultative Group (DCG) mechanisms, both sides will explore additional areas for institutional engagement.

The Ministers agreed to further strengthen their naval and maritime interactions, including enhanced Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) through the bilateral technical agreement to exchange information to track terrorist and pirate vessels, a key deliverable of the DISP. The two Ministers also agreed to further develop cooperation between the UK Hydrographic Office and the Indian Navy Hydrographic Office.

India and the UK will endeavour to build a range of Capability Partnerships focussing on varied aspects of military effectiveness such as specialised training interactions and exchange of best practices in the following areas – Counter Terrorism (CT), Counter Improvised Explosive Devices (CIED), Air Force Training, Air Total Safety, Aircraft Carriers, Maritime Safety, Shipbuilding and UN Peacekeeping. Efforts are already underway with exchanges of subject matter experts to discuss air safety collaboration and future CT requirements. The Ministers tasked the relevant Executive Steering Groups (ESGs) to finalise proposals for consideration at the next DCG meeting scheduled later this year.

As India and the UK continue to transform and modernise their defence structures with a shared desire to maximise the efficiencies and operational benefits of establishing joint force structures, the two Ministers agreed to share relevant experience in this domain.

DEFENCE INDUSTRY

Whilst acknowledging the progress being made, the two Ministers recognised the potential for further cooperation in defence manufacturing between the UK and Indian companies under the ‘Make in India’ framework.

Shri Jaitley welcomed the UK’s interest in manufacturing in India as evidenced through recent announcements including the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Bharat Dynamics Ltd. and Thales UK on technology transfer opportunities for missile systems and efforts to develop an Advanced Hawk jet trainer jointly by the BAE Systems and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

To further encourage and facilitate cooperation between the UK and Indian companies, the two Ministers agreed to extend the current Defence Equipment Cooperation MOU and work towards early completion of an expanded MOU, that will provide a platform for the UK and Indian industries to collaborate on and support transfer of technology on projects in areas of mutual interest.

The two Ministers welcomed measures to ensure life cycle support and sustenance of UK-origin defence platforms used by India, which may include setting up joint ventures and other collaborative arrangements.

The UK and India will encourage interactions between the Indian Army Design Bureau and Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S)/Army Capability Branch through their Defence Equipment Sub-Group.

The UK and India will explore establishing a secure communications method in order to share classified material. The two countries will also consider upgrading their bilateral General Security Arrangement.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

The two Ministers recognised the need for stronger R&D cooperation, including access to Defence R&D training, to enable new and vibrant technology partnerships across the Defence domain.

They noted recent progress made on Defence Science and Technology collaboration with the signing of the Phase 2 follow-on research Collaborative Project Agreement on Human Sciences, signed at Aero India 2017.

CONCLUSION

The above commitments will better enable the UK and India to meet the evolving threats and challenges that face democracies in the 21st Century. Both countries recognised their shared perspectives on the regional and international security situation and agreed to maintain their close interaction in this regard.

Secretary of State for Defence Sir Michael Fallon thanked Minister of Defence Shri Arun Jaitley for the warm hospitality extended to him and his delegation and looked forward to a return visit by the Minister of Defence to the UK.”

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