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UK's partnership with India beacon in stormy seas: British PM

UKs partnership with India beacon in stormy seas: British PM

New Delhi: The UK's partnership with India is a "beacon" in "stormy seas" at a time the world is facing growing threats from autocratic states which seek to undermine democracy, choke off fair trade and trample on sovereignty, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday.

The British high commission said Johnson is expected to discuss with Prime Minister Narendra Modi the next-generation defence and security collaboration across the five domains of land, sea, air, space and cyber as both nations face complex new threats.

This includes support for new Indian-designed and built fighter jets, offering the best of British know-how on building battle-winning aircraft and supporting India's requirements for new technology to identify and respond to threats in the Indian Ocean, it said in a statement ahead of the Modi-Johnson talks.

"To support greater defence and security collaboration with India over the coming decade, the UK will issue an Open General Export Licence (OGEL) to India, reducing bureaucracy and shortening delivery times for defence procurement. This is our first OGEL in the Indo-Pacific region," the high commission said.

It said Johnson will also discuss new cooperation on clean and renewable energy aimed at supporting New Delhi's energy transition from imported oil and increasing its resilience through secure and sustainable energy and addressing climate change in both the UK and India.

The British prime minister arrived in India on Thursday on a two-day visit in the backdrop of the Russia-Ukraine war.

"The world faces growing threats from autocratic states which seek to undermine democracy, choke off free and fair trade and trample on sovereignty.The UK's partnership with India is a beacon in these stormy seas," Johnson was quoted as saying by the high commission.

"Our collaboration on the issues that matter to both our countries, from climate change to energy security and defence, is of vital importance as we look to the future," he said.

In a tweet, Johnson said he was looking forward to meeting with Modi.

"Wonderful to see you, my friend PM @BorisJohnson in India on a long-awaited visit. Look forward to our discussions today," Modi said in a tweet in his response.

The high commission said the UK and India are launching a virtual Hydrogen Science and Innovation hub to accelerate affordable green hydrogen, as well as new funding for the Green Grids Initiative announced at COP26.

It said the UK and India are collaborating as a force for good globally.

The high commission said the UK will work with India to boost security in the Indo-Pacific.

"Our governments are committing up to 75 million pounds (1 GBP= Rs 99.63) to roll out adaptable clean tech innovations from India to the wider Indo-Pacific and Africa, and working together on international development and girls education," it said.

Johnson visited Gujarat on Thursday before arriving in New Delhi late last evening.

"It's been a real pleasure to be in Gujarat today to see the fruits of the incredible partnership between the UK and our friends in India," he had said on Twitter, adding more than 1 billion pounds in new investments between the two great countries were confirmed.

On Friday morning, the British prime minister laid a wreath at Rajghat paying his respects to Mahatma Gandhi.

He was accorded a ceremonial welcome at the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

The India-UK relationship was elevated to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership during the India-UK virtual summit held between Modi and Johnson in May last year.

At the summit, the two sides adopted a 10-year-roadmap to expand ties in key areas of trade and economy, defence and security, climate change and people-to-people connections among others.

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