(NEW DELHI) After engaging with Indian expatriates at a community reception and having a “warm meeting” with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh wrapped off his tour to the UK on Thursday.
On Wednesday night, Rajnath Singh paid Prime Minister Rishi Sunak a visit at 10 Downing Street to talk about a variety of topics pertaining to their bilateral security and economic relations. In addition, he gave a Ram Darbar monument to the first Hindu prime minister of Britain, Rishi Sunak, at the meeting that UK National Security Adviser (NSA) Sir Tim Barrow was also present at.
“Had a very warm meeting with Shri Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, in London,” Rajnath Singh posted on social media.
“I got to talk to him about a lot of different things. We talked about defence, economic relations, and how India and the UK should collaborate to fortify a stable and peaceful international rules-based order,” the speaker stated.
As to the meeting readout released by the Indian Ministry of Defence, Rishi Sunak concurred with the minister regarding the necessity of India and the UK working together and conveyed optimism that the ongoing negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA) may soon conclude with success.
The 14th round of free trade agreement discussions between India and the UK is presently underway with the aim of greatly enhancing their yearly bilateral partnership worth GBP 36 billion.
According to reports, Rishi Sunak also emphasised his and his government’s desire to fortify the defence and security pillar of the bilateral relationship, particularly by supporting deeper economic and technological cooperation with Indian counterpart firms.
During his first visit to the UK as an Indian defence minister in 22 years, Rajnath Singh briefed Rishi Sunak about his “positive interactions” with the UK defence sector and the “new positive energy” in the bilateral defence relationship.
At the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office, he also had a meeting with UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron, with whom he discussed the renewed vigour and course of the India-UK alliance, which is marked by intense contacts at several levels.
In order to increase resilience, Rajnath Singh “outlined his goal of integrating the defence industries of both countries, including through supply chain integration.” The Ministry of Defence said, “He also emphasised the significance of bilateral start-up level interaction and the identification and discussion of joint projects that India and the UK could implement together.”
In order to bolster support for an international order based on rules, David Cameron reaffirmed the UK government’s intention to work with India in the defence sector, namely in the area of defence industrial collaboration.
Later on Wednesday night, during a community reception hosted by the Indian High Commission in London, Rajnath Singh spoke with close to 200 individuals of Indian descent. The minister spoke to the audience to inform them of India’s rapid growth and prosperity, while other attendees included family members of World War II veterans and ex-servicemen from the Indian military.
“It is predicted that India will top all other nations in terms of economic position by 2075–2080. Rajnath Singh gave a speech to the assembly in Hindi, which was then succinctly translated in English by Vikram Doraiswami, the Indian High Commissioner to the UK. “This is the image of India today because of the fast pace of growth,” Singh stated.
Rajnath Singh also discussed some parts of a recent piece titled “What I Feel about the Bharat Narrative in India” by Zhang Jiadong that appeared in the Chinese government newspaper “Global Times.”
“A writer who represents the Chinese government’s viewpoints stated that even the Chinese leadership has been obliged to acknowledge that India is a geopolitical and economic force today. Although we want good ties with all nations, there is a sense that China and India are not on good terms. Despite this, we do not view anyone as an opponent. Indeed, he continued, “contrary to popular belief, even China, our neighbour, recognises India’s increasing influence as a major world force today.
During the three-day visit, the minister’s agenda was full, including bilateral discussions and co-chairing a roundtable of CEOs from the UK and India’s defence industry with UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps.
After being met with a stately Guard of Honour upon his arrival in London, Rajnath Singh signed two documents: a Memorandum of Understanding regarding the management of a bilateral international cadet exchange programme and a Letter of Arrangement concerning defence research and development collaboration between the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).