Chief of the Defence Staff Admiral Sir Tony Radakin held a series of high-level meetings during a visit to India this week, strengthening the strategic ties between both countries.
Admiral Radakin began his three-day visit on Monday 17 April, paying homage to the fallen soldiers at the National War Memorial, ahead of his first meeting with his Indian counterpart, General Anil Chauhan.
The two Chiefs reviewed progress on various pillars of the UK-India defence partnership and exchanged views to further expand ties in all the domains.
The UK and India are natural partners in defence and share a strong and enduring relationship, including collaboration in research, development and training.
Following the signing of an updated Memorandum of Understanding in 2019, discussions around industrial collaboration in the aerospace sector have been progressing, with the UK’s Minister for Defence Procurement visiting in February and the First Sea Lord also visiting in March.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:
India is a valued defence partner for the UK and our relationship continues to flourish across our research and industrial sectors.
Both our nations are committed to the stability and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific and we continue to train and operate alongside our Indian partners to promote security in the region.
Admiral Radakin subsequently held discussions with other high-ranking Indian defence staff, including the Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Hari Kumar, Chief of the Army Staff, General Manoj Pande, and Defence Secretary, Giridhar Aramane.
The meetings were an opportunity to boost military-to-military engagement and explore opportunities around the co-creation of future technologies.
The visit also saw Admiral Radakin hosted by various defence establishments of the Indian Armed Forces, including the base of the Indian Army’s 50th Parachute Brigade, as well as the National Defence College and National Maritime Foundation.
Chief of the Defence Staff, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin said:
My visit to India reflects the United Kingdom’s belief that our security is indivisible from that of the wider world. As a global trading nation it matters to the UK that the Indo-Pacific is open and free, which is why the British Armed Forces is establishing the broadest and most integrated presence in the region of any European nation.
India and the UK are natural partners in a world that is becoming more contested and volatile. We share many of the same democratic instincts and values and are both committed to the rule of law. We are respected military powers, both undergoing significant investment and modernisation, and exercising together across land, sea and air. But we can do more. I value the opportunity to meet with General Anil Chauhan to discuss how we can develop our partnership in a way that benefits our mutual security and prosperity.
The Royal Navy, British Army, and Royal Air Force are all carrying out exercises with their Indian equivalents this year, developing interoperability and joint tactics.
In recent weeks, HMS Lancaster visited Kochi to train alongside the Indian Navy as part of Exercise Konkan, while five Mirage 2000 fighters were flown by Indian air force pilots in the Royal Air Force’s largest aerial exercise in the UK – Exercise Cobra Warrior.
Later this month, soldiers from the Indian Army will deploy to the UK to take part in Exercise Ajeya Warrior, training alongside the British Army.
The visit by CDS also coincides with the visit of the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston. The visit of two of the most senior officers in the UK’s armed forces exemplifies the importance with which the UK holds its defence and security partnership with India.