In a move that has been dubbed as a “special gesture,” British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak joined a meeting between National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval and British counterpart Tim Barrow at the UK Cabinet Office. The meeting took place on Friday and was marked by the PM’s commitment to deepen the strategic partnership between India and the UK in areas such as trade, defence, and science and technology.
The Indian High Commission in London and the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) took to Twitter to express their appreciation for the PM’s efforts to strengthen the ties between the two nations. They stated that they “deeply valued the PM’s assurance of his government’s full support to deepen strategic partnership in trade, defence, S&T” and looked forward to the visit of Sir Tim to India soon.
The security dialogue between India and the UK took place amidst the controversy surrounding the BBC documentary, ‘India: The Modi Question’, which has been condemned by the Indian government as biased propaganda. However, the UK government has made a strong statement in Parliament in response to the diaspora protests across the country, declaring the BBC as a media outlet that is “independent in its outlet” and reiterating its commitment to enhance ties with India.
UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly told the House of Commons that the UK recognizes the impact of the portrayal of the Indian government in India and emphasized that the UK regards India as an incredibly important international partner. The two nations share a comprehensive strategic partnership and have agreed on a 2030 Roadmap to enhance bilateral relations in all spheres, including defence and security.
Currently, bilateral trade between India and the UK stands at around 29.6 billion pounds a year and both nations are working towards enhancing this figure through a free trade agreement (FTA) that is currently being negotiated. The seventh round of talks is expected to take place in Britain in the coming weeks. In conclusion, the meeting between PM Rishi Sunak and the National Security Advisors of India and the UK marks a significant step towards strengthening the ties between the two nations and promoting peace and security in the region.