Thursday 31 March 2022 6:57 AM UTC
LONDON March 31: Deepening security and defence ties with India and the importance of all countries reducing strategic dependency on Russia in light of the Ukraine conflict will be the focal points of discussions when British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss arrives in New Delhi today.
The UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said the high-level ministerial visit was part of a wider diplomatic push and comes ahead of NATO and G7 meetings next week to tackle “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine”.
The minister wants to counter Russia’s aggression and reduce global strategic dependence on the country and her agenda includes progressing talks to develop defence-related trade with India, including innovative security technology, to strengthen defence ties with the world’s largest democracy.
“Deeper ties between Britain and India will boost security in the Indo-Pacific and globally, and create jobs and opportunities in both countries,” said Ms Truss, ahead of her visit – expected to be a short day-long tour.
“This matters even more in the context of Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and underlines the need for free democracies to work closer together in areas like defence, trade and cyber security. India is an economic and tech powerhouse, the world’s largest democracy and a great friend of Britain, and I want to build an even closer relationship between our two nations,” she said.
In her meeting with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, the minister will say that Russia’s action in Ukraine underlines the importance of democracies working closer together to “deter aggressors, reduce vulnerability to coercion and strengthen global security”.
The ministers will go on to address the India-UK Strategic Futures Forum on Thursday to set out their vision for the long-term relationship between the two countries.
As part of the Enhanced Cyber Partnership agreed within the UK-India Roadmap 2030, the UK minister is set to announce a new joint cyber security programme with the aim of protecting online infrastructure in both countries from attacks. Under the initiative, India and the UK will work together to increase cyber security and carry out joint exercises to practise combatting threats from cybercriminals and ransomware, the FCDO said.
The UK will also confirm plans to hold the first Strategic Tech Dialogue, a ministerial-level summit on emerging technology, during her visit.
On the energy front, the visiting Foreign Secretary will confirm GBP 70 million of British International Investment (BII) funding to support renewable energy use in India, aimed at helping India build renewable energy capacity and develop solar power in the region. Plans for a new platform to allow British investors to bid for green infrastructure, technology, and business opportunities in India is also set to be confirmed.
Current volatility in oil and gas prices and energy security concerns, as a result of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, underscore the importance of India’s green transition and move towards energy self-sufficiency, the FCDO noted.
Closer maritime cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, involving the UK joining India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative and becoming a lead partner on maritime security issues and coordinating work with key partners in Southeast Asia, is also on the ministerial agenda.
“This stronger partnership on maritime security builds on the visit to India last year by HMS Queen Elizabeth and the Carrier Strike Group (CSG) – a symbol of the UK’s world leading defence capability. The CSG took part in the most demanding exercise ever undertaken between the UK and India, involving all three military services,” the FCDO said.
This will mark the second trip to India by Truss as Foreign Secretary, following her visit in October 2021, having previously visited in her role as Trade Secretary.
The FCDO stressed that strengthening ties with India has been a “priority” for the Foreign Secretary, with a focus on the ongoing free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations between the two countries.
Biden’s Point Person On Russian Sanctions To Visit India Today
Top Indian-American US advisor and a key architect of Washington’s punitive economic sanctions against Moscow, Daleep Singh, will visit India on March 30 and 31 to discuss the “consequences” of Russia’s “unjustified war” against Ukraine and the development of an Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, the White House announced.
Singh’s trip coincides with the visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov who is likely to arrive in India either on Thursday evening or Friday morning after concluding a two-day trip to China.
Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics Singh will be in New Delhi on March 30 and 31, the White House said on Tuesday.
“Singh will consult closely with counterparts on the consequences of Russia’s unjustified war against Ukraine and mitigating its impact on the global economy,” said Emily Horne, spokesperson of the National Security Council of the White House.
Horne said that the top official will also discuss priorities of the Biden administration, including the promotion of high-quality infrastructure through Build Back Better World and the development of an Indo-Pacific Economic Framework.
In New Delhi, Singh will continue the US administration’s ongoing consultations with India, and advance a range of issues in the US-India economic relationship and strategic partnership.
He will meet Indian officials to deepen cooperation to promote inclusive economic growth and prosperity, and a free and open Indo-Pacific, Horne said.
The preparations for the upcoming ‘2+2’ foreign and defence ministerial dialogue in Washington next month are also likely to figure during Singh’s visit. The dialogue is likely to take place around April 11.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will travel to Washington to hold talks with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin. The Ukraine crisis is likely to be the main focus of the US official’s visit to India, people familiar with the development said on Tuesday in New Delhi.
Singh, 46, is the great-grandson of Dalip Singh Saund, the first Asian-American elected to the Congress. He has a Master of Business Administration and Master of Public Administration in international economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Harvard Kennedy School.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to visit India tomorrow
It would be the highest-level visit from Russia to India after Moscow launched its military offensive against Ukraine on 24 February . (A file photo of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Wednesday informed that the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is set to pay an official visit to India from 31 March to 1 April.
“Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation, Sergey Lavrov will pay an official visit to New Delhi on 31 March-1 April 2022,” the MEA said in a one-line statement.
It would be the highest-level visit from Russia to India after Moscow launched its military offensive against Ukraine on 24 February .
This meeting comes ahead of the 2+2 dialogues set to be held between India and US on 11 April. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will meet their counterparts Secretary of State Antony Blinken and US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin.
According to reports, the Ukraine crisis is set to top the agenda when Lavrov travels to India for a short visit after meetings in China, people familiar with the matter had said on Monday. Lavrov is set to be in India days after a visit by China’s foreign minister Wang Yi, who too discussed the Ukraine crisis with his Indian counterpart.
In New Delhi, Lavrov is expected to hold talks with Indian counterpart S Jaishankar on 1 April.
The people cited above said the agenda for the visit and other meetings were still being firmed up. However, the conflict in Ukraine and its consequences is expected to feature in the discussions, they said.
For the Russian side, the relationship with India – one of the few countries that has not publicly criticised President Vladimir Putin’s military operation against Ukraine – is seen as crucial.
Meanwhile, another report from India says that Russia is offering India steep discounts on the direct sale of oil as mounting international pressure lowers the appetite for its barrels elsewhere following the invasion of Ukraine.
CLICK TO FOLLOW UKMALAYALEE.COM