India-UK Defence Partnership: Latest Developments

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The UK Secretary of State for Defence Sir Michael Fallon paid four-day visit to India in April 2017. The India-UK delegation level talks were held where the UK side was led by Sir Michael Fallon while the Indian delegation was headed by the Defence Minister Arun Jaitley.

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.

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 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.

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