World

UK And India Announce '2030 Roadmap' For Defence

Boris Johnson and Narendra Modi agreed to advance relationship to "a new level", with a focus on maritime and industrial collaboration.

UK and India Prime Ministers Boris Johnson and Narendra Modi have agreed a '2030 Roadmap' which will see enhanced co-operation between the two countries in defence.

During the virtual meeting, both leaders put forward a shared vision for the UK-India defence partnership and agreed to advance the relationship to "a new level", with a focus on maritime and industrial collaboration.

They also spoke of the potential for further collaboration in areas like maritime propulsion, space and cyber.

The benefits of closer co-operation in a "free and open Indo-Pacific" were discussed, recognising their shared interest in the region's prosperity and stability.

New co-operation was agreed on Maritime Domain Awareness, including new agreements on maritime information sharing, an invitation to the UK to join India's Information Fusion Centre in Gurgaon and an ambitious exercise programme that includes joint tri-lateral exercises.

The two countries are also working to conclude a Logistics Memorandum of Understanding that will enhance a joint ability to tackle shared challenges.

Indian soldiers march on Salisbury Plain (Picture: British Army).
Indian troops training alongside the British Army on Salisbury Plain last year (Picture: British Army).

UK Minister for Defence Procurement, Jeremy Quin MP, said: "The UK and India enjoy a strong defence and security relationship.

"We remain committed to close collaboration with India as we both adapt to meet future threats and look to innovate our defence equipment programmes and systems."

As part of the '2030 Roadmap', the UK and India also agreed to work closely together in support of India's development of the Light Combat Aircraft Mark 2.

The agreement builds upon one signed between Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and Rolls-Royce to move aspects of the manufacture of the MT30 Gas Turbine engine to India, supporting PM Modi's 'Make in India' initiative.

The MT30 is an engine employed widely in navies around the world and is the basis of the UK's Integrated Electric Propulsion system that powers the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers.

British High Commissioner to India Alex Ellis said: "The UK and India are natural partners in defence and security.

The UK will conduct joint exercises with India when the UK’s Carrier Strike Group 2021 sails to India this autumn.

"Today's announcements underline our shared ambition for that partnership, enhancing cooperation, building joint expertise and accelerating industrial co-operation, building up to the arrival of our new aircraft carrier and its accompanying ships to India this autumn."

The UK's Carrier Strike Group 2021, led by HMS Queen Elizabeth, will sail to India in the autumn on its maiden operational deployment.

As part of a greater strategic focus on the Indo-Pacific region, the maiden deployment will see the UK conduct joint exercises with India, secure passage through trade routes and attend trade events at West Coast Ports.

Last month, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the UK's Carrier Strike Group will allow defence relations with India to "flourish".

"The deployment is a symbol of Global Britain in action, and powerfully demonstrates our commitment to India, the Indo-Pacific region, and confronting threats to international order."

Cover image: Boris Johnson and Narendra Modi pictured in 2017, when Mr Johnson was Foreign Secretary (Picture: Alamy).