Modi talks with Johnson about the British prime minister’s first visit to New Delhi since taking office in 2019.
The UK and India have agreed to step up trade and defense cooperation, with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson signaling that a bilateral free trade deal could be finalized in October this year.
in his first to visit In the Indian capital since taking office in 2019, Johnson has held talks with his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, on ways to boost security ties between London and New Delhi, which buys more than half of its military equipment from Russia.
“We had wonderful conversations that have strengthened our relationship in every way,” Johnson said at a joint news conference with Modi on Friday, at the end of his two-day trip.
“We have agreed to a new and expanded defense and security partnership, a decades-long commitment that will not only forge closer ties between us, but will support his goal of ‘Making in India,'” he added, referring to the prime minister’s domestic manufacturing Indian. push.
As India celebrates its 75th year of independence, I am very optimistic about the depth of friendship between our countries and the security and prosperity it can bring to our peoples for generations to come.
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) April 22, 2022
Meanwhile, Modi hailed Johnson’s visit, which came as India celebrates its 75th year of independence, as “historic.”
“We discussed various regional and international developments and emphasized a free, open, inclusive and rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific,” he said.
Joint call for ceasefire in Ukraine
While exact details of the security partnership between the two sides were not immediately available, Johnson said both countries have agreed to work together on defense acquisitions “to address threats on land, sea and air, space and cyber, including the partnership.” in new fighter aircraft technology. , maritime technologies to detect and respond to threats in the oceans”.
The UK’s efforts to bolster security ties follow an attempt last month by the United States to lure India away from Russia with its own offer of more defense and energy sales after President Joe Biden called New Delhi a “somewhat unstable” in acting against Moscow for its offensive in Ukraine.
Last month, India refrained from a United Nations vote condemning the invasion and has not imposed sanctions on Russia, taking a stance that has triggered a recent flurry of diplomatic activity, including a to visit by the Russian Foreign Minister.
Modi said he had discussed the situation in Ukraine with Johnson, with both sides calling for an immediate ceasefire and stressing the importance of diplomacy to end the conflict.
In 2019, the UK’s trade with India was worth £23bn ($30bn), data shows, and with the world’s second largest population of nearly 1.4bn, the southern giant Asia offers a wide range of potential customers.