Owner security

Johnson to discuss security cooperation with Modi during visit to India

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will meet his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi next week, where he will reiterate the need for democracies to ‘stick together’ and aim to boost economic and defense cooperation between the UK and India .

During the two-day visit, Johnson will hold talks with Modi in New Delhi on strengthening India-UK security cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region as well as strategic defense against to growing Russian aggression.

Throughout the Ukrainian conflict, India maintained a strategically neutral position vis-à-vis Russia. President Modi has expressed concern over the use of violence against civilians like the one recorded in Bucha, but India chose to abstain in key UN votes condemning Russia. Modi even met Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov earlier this year.

India’s position has been met with frustration by some Western allies such as US President Joe Biden, who last month accused India of being “somewhat fragile” in its response to Russian aggression.

“As we face threats to our peace and prosperity from autocratic states, it is vital that democracies and friends remain united,” Johnson said, commenting ahead of the visit. “India, as a major economic power and the world’s largest democracy, is a valued strategic partner of the UK in these uncertain times”

He added: “My visit to India will bring things that really matter to the people of our two nations – from job creation and economic growth to energy security and defence.”

As part of his trip, Johnson will also meet companies in Gujarat where he is expected to announce new collaboration between the two countries in areas including health and technology and major investments in crucial industries in the UK and India. .

Trade between India and the UK is estimated at £23 billion every year. Last year, the two countries agreed on a comprehensive UK-India strategic partnership, which the UK government said would bring more than £533m of investment into the country since India and would result in the creation of more than 6,500 jobs.

Johnson is also expected to use the trip to continue negotiations for a free trade agreement, which began in January this year.

Johnson’s trip comes as the UK government aims to refocus efforts in the Indo-Pacific region as part of its Global Britain strategy.

The Integrated Review, a defense and security document published in March last year, argued that the Indo-Pacific would be of “increasing geopolitical and economic importance” in the years to come.

In particular, the review highlighted India’s strategic value and underscored the UK government’s intention to strengthen its partnership with the country in areas such as defence, trade and the fight against climate change.

“The relationship between the UK and India is already strong, but over the next ten years we will seek to transform our cooperation across our shared interests,” the review said.