Defence Industry

Rajnath Singh Holds ‘Fruitful Discussions’ With UK Counterpart On Security And Defence Industrial Co-Op

Story Highlights
  • Indians living outside of India celebrate Gandhi Jayanti and Martyr's Day every year at the famous sculpture of Gandhi in a thoughtful pose.
  • The Indian Ministry of Defense said, "January 9 is a significant date because it marks Mahatma Gandhi's return from South Africa to Mumbai in 1915.

Rajnath Singh, the Indian defense minister, met with his British counterpart, Grant Shapps, on Tuesday. They had “fruitful discussions” about a wide range of issues connected to defense cooperation, security, and improving cooperation between the defense industry and the government.

Singh’s trip is the first by an Indian defense minister to the UK in 22 years. The last one was in January 2002.

“Had a great meeting with Mr. Grant Shapps, the UK’s defense minister.” We looked at all of India and the UK’s defense ties. Singh wrote in a post on X, “We had productive talks on a wide range of issues related to defense cooperation, security, and also improving defense industrial cooperation.”

Shapps said that the UK and India don’t just do business with each other; they are natural partners with many things they have in common and goals they both want to achieve. The Indian Ministry of Defense said the meeting was “very warm” and that there was a good sharing of ideas.

Singh was pleased to see that the two countries’ strategy goals were becoming more similar, especially in the Indo-Pacific.

After the two sides met, they signed two agreements: an MoU to run an international cadet exchange program between the two countries, and a Letter of Arrangement for the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) to work together on defense research and development.

The ministry said these papers will make it easier for people from both countries to meet and talk to each other, especially young people, and will also help the two countries work together on defense research in a wider range of areas.

Shapps gave Singh a formal Guard of Honor welcome at Horse Guards Parade in the middle of Whitehall, which is the home of the UK government. Singh was then asked to look at the special parade in Hindi. The British Army’s Number 7 Company Coldstream Guards and the Band of the Irish Guards put on a formal parade. The parade was made up of 48 regular soldiers wearing their regimental colors.

As asked by the UK Secretary of State for Defense, The Right Honourable Grant Shapps, Number 7 Company Coldstream Guards, dressed in their finest athol grey greatcoats and black bearskin caps, gave Rajnath Singh a Guard of Honor on Horse Guards Parade, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) said in a statement.

The statement said that Captain Zacharias Faja, who is in charge of the Guard, politely asked the Indian Defense Minister to look at the Guard of Honor in Hindi as a sign of respect for the important guest.

The Old Admiralty building and No. 10 Downing Street are on one side of the iconic parade grounds, and there is a clear view of Buckingham Palace. The regiments that were represented there are some of the oldest in the British Army, and they have been known for their excellence in both combat and ceremonial duties for almost 400 years.

The Ministry of Defense (MoD) said, “Today’s Guard of Honor shows that our friendship with India is very important to us.”

“The UK and India are committed to a partnership that works for both of them.” It said, “Our shared vision is for stronger and more active ties between our people; re-energized trade, investment, and technological cooperation that makes people’s lives and livelihoods better; enhanced defense and security cooperation that makes the Indian Ocean Region safer; and India-UK leadership in climate, clean energy, and health that acts as a global force for good.”

The ministry said that the countries are working together through the Defense Consultative Group and have started a “new, ambitious” Strategic Collaborative Partnership to work on research, innovation, technology, and industry in order to create new and better defense and security tools to deal with common threats and the operational challenges of the future.

It also said, “Visits like this help people learn more about our shared military capabilities, goals, and priorities, all of which are important for building a stronger strategic partnership between the UK and India.”

Singh began his trip to the UK by visiting the figure of Mahatma Gandhi in Tavistock Square in the middle of London.

Singh paid flowers to the Father of the Nation at the memorial, which was built in the 20th century, with the help of Vikram Doraiswami, the Indian High Commissioner to the UK, and other members of his team.

Indians living outside of India celebrate Gandhi Jayanti and Martyr’s Day every year at the famous sculpture of Gandhi in a thoughtful pose. Some of them had come to the square to talk to the minister.

The Indian Ministry of Defense said, “January 9 is a significant date because it marks Mahatma Gandhi’s return from South Africa to Mumbai in 1915. This event is celebrated in India as Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, which honors the many ways the Overseas Indian community has helped the country grow.”

Later on Tuesday, Singh paid his respects to Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, an activist for Dalit rights and the author of the Indian Constitution, at the Ambedkar Museum in north London. He then prayed at the BAPS Swaminarayan Temple, also known as the Neasden Temple in London.

Singh arrived in London on Monday night with a group of top officials from the Ministry of Defence, including DRDO, Service Headquarters, the Department of Defence, and the Department of Defence Production. They will be there for three days.

He is also likely to meet with Foreign Secretary David Cameron and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. He will also talk with Shapps.

The Raksha Mantri will also meet with leaders in the defense business at a roundtable event and then meet Indian community leaders at a reception put together by the High Commission of India in London before leaving early Thursday morning.

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