India completed 75 years of independence this year, which also marks 75 years of bilateral relations with Britain. The strategic importance of India is on the rise right now. Hence be it Britain or the US, everyone wants to be a strategic partner to this south Asian juggernaut. The visit of erstwhile pm of Britain Mr. Boris Johnson in March 2022 can be seen as a cornerstone of this relationship.
As part of continuous efforts to boost bilateral relations, defense secretary Dr. Ajay Kumar with his counterpart David Williams co-chaired a meeting of the India-UK Defense Consultative Group (DCG) in London recently.
Discussions on broad-ranging issues were held, including defense and industrial cooperation between these two historically related nations. The progress of various Service level bilateral groups and other defense cooperation mechanisms was also reviewed by this duo. The opportunities in areas like defense industrial cooperation and other emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence were also a significant objective of consideration. Another important event that Dr. Ajay participated in was one with UK NSA Sir Tim Barrow.
Bilateral visits between the two countries have been the cornerstone of deepening ties. During visit of the then PM of Britain, Boris Johnson, to India in April this year witnessed some significant deals and negotiations related to Defense and Security sectors.
A crucial development from this visit was the coming together of Britain’s Defense Science and Technology Laboratory and India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) to undertake joint research, design, and development of defense technology, explicitly focusing on the electric propulsion system. A lot of credit for these developments should be given to India’s UK Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. Boris Johnson also reiterated the need to steer bilateral relations to a vision of 2047 that will be 25 years of coordinated partnership.
Although a lot needs to be done given the British strategic relations with Pakistan since its formation in 1947, as they say, good things take time. MI6 has strategic ties with the ISI of Pakistan, and the British Chief of Defense Staff is a frequent visitor to Rawalpindi, the army HQ of Pakistan. Britain has always denounced terrorism in resonance with India, and also PM Johnson called for Zero tolerance toward terrorism. But no serious steps are taken to pressure Pakistan to stop infiltrating the Indian border. The recent Vandalism of a Hindu temple by Pakistani origin people in Leicester is just an example of the UK’s appeasement of Pakistan as the Liz Struss government failed to take any severe measure to give a message to radical Pakistanis.
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