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UK Foreign Secy in India for diplomatic push over Russia-Ukraine war

News Agencies | Updated on: 31 March 2022, 14:12 IST

UK Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss, who arrived in India on Thursday on an official visit will convey to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar that Russia's actions on Ukraine, underlining the importance of democracies to work together to deter "aggressors" and "reduce vulnerability to coercion," the British High Commission said.

The Foreign Secretary will point to the importance of all countries reducing strategic dependency on Russia at this time of heightened global insecurity, according to a statement issued by the British High Commission.

Truss is in India as part of a wider diplomatic push to counter Russia's aggression in Ukraine, ahead of key NATO and G7 meetings next week.

The British Foreign Secretary will hold talks with External Affairs Minister Jaishankar on regional and global issues of mutual interest, according to the British Foreign Office statement.

"In a meeting with Jaishankar, the Foreign Secretary will discuss Russia's actions of Ukraine, underlining the importance of democracies working closer together to deter aggressors, reduce vulnerability to coercion and strengthen global security," the statement said.

Truss said, "Deeper ties between Britain and India will boost security in the Indo-Pacific and globally, and create jobs and opportunities in both countries.

"This matters even more in the context of Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and underlines the need for free democracies to work closer together in areas like defence, trade and cyber security," the British Foreign Secretary said.

During her trip, Truss will progress talks to develop defence-related trade, including innovative security technology, strengthening defence ties with the world's largest democracy.

"India is an economic and tech powerhouse, the world's largest democracy and a great friend of Britain, and I want to build an even closer relationship between our two nations," Truss said.

As per the British High Commission, Truss will also work to deepen cyber security and defence cooperation between the two countries and will announce a new joint cyber security programme.

The programme will aim to protect online infrastructure in both countries from attacks. India and the UK will work together to increase cyber security and carry out joint exercises to practise combatting threats from cybercriminals and ransomware.

Truss and Jaishankar will address the India-UK Strategic Futures Forum today to set out their vision for the long-term relationship between the two countries.

According to the statement, the UK and India will also agree to closer maritime co-operation in the Indo-Pacific. The UK will join India's Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative and become a lead partner on maritime security issues, coordinating work with key partners in Southeast Asia.

This stronger partnership on maritime security builds on the visit to India last year by HMS Queen Elizabeth and the Carrier Strike Group (CSG) - a symbol of the UK's world-leading defence capability.

Strengthening ties with India has been a priority for the Foreign Secretary since taking up the role. This is her second trip to the country as Foreign Secretary following her visit last October and her third as a Secretary of State in 13 months.

Since the 2030 Roadmap was agreed last year, the UK and India have launched free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations.

On her trip the Foreign Secretary will also confirm 70 million pound of British International Investment (BII) funding to support renewable energy use in India. This will help build renewable energy capacity and develop solar power in the region. She will also confirm plans for a new platform to allow British investors to bid for green infrastructure, technology, and business opportunities in India, as per the statement.

The British Foreign secretary's visit to India comes amidst Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov official two-day visit to the country. Lavrov is expected to meet and hold talks with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Friday.


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First published: 31 March 2022, 14:12 IST