NEW DELHI: India and the United Kingdom said on Tuesday that they will deepen strategic cooperation in the Indo-Pacific and jointly face “common security threats” amid China’s muscle flexibility in the region. Britain became the second largest European nation after France to deepen security cooperation with India in the Indo-Pacific region in the last two months.
Earlier today, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar held wide-ranging talks with UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, focusing on five key areas, including defense and security.
Speaking about increasing congruence in strategic ties, the British Secretary of State said that a closer relationship with India and the wider Indo-Pacific region is one of the “highest 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 issues of common interest, such as terrorism and maritime security, as well as piracy in the Western Indian Ocean.
He said the UK wants to work with India to make 5G networks stronger and more secure.
“It will also help us meet new and emerging challenges, such as space and cybersecurity. We want to work together to ensure that our telecommunications networks, our 5G networks, are more secure and resilient,” he said. he.
The statement is important because Britain is trying to build a 5G club of 10 democracies, including India, amid growing security concerns about Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei. It also announced the complete removal of Huawei from its 5G network.
Jaishankar, in his remarks, said: “As democratic policies, market economies and pluralistic societies, we can, should and will make a difference in achieving a global rule-based order.”
In the meantime, 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 UK-India roadmap so that we can make a passive change in the ambition for the relationship between our two countries. We look forward to doing this in 2021 – including through the UK G7 presidency and also our presidency of the UN Climate Change Conference, ”Raab said.
Earlier today, Raab had confirmed that the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson accepted India’s invitation to participate in the Republic Day celebrations of January 26 as the main guest.
According to Downing Street, Johnson said his visit to India would mark the beginning of an “exciting year” for global Britain and provide a “quantum leap” in bilateral ties.
“As a key player in the Indo-Pacific region, India is an increasingly indispensable partner for the UK as we work to boost jobs and growth, meet common threats to our security and to protect our planet, “Johnson said.
India and several other nations have stepped up efforts to counter an expansionist China in the Indo-Pacific region.
Last month, the Quad group comprising India, the US, Australia and Japan completed the Malabar naval exercise in the region in order to send a clear message to China. It was the first time in 13 years that all four nations participated in the mega war games.
(With contributions from agencies)