LONGON: The Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP, Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs and Minister for Women and Equalities, United Kingdom paid an official visit to India on March 31, 2022.
External Affairs Minister, Dr S. Jaishankar, held bilateral consultations with the visiting Minister and conducted the annual strategic review of the Roadmap 2030 agreed between the Prime Ministers during the India-UK Virtual Summit 2021. The two Ministers expressed satisfaction on the progress achieved so far and agreed to further intensify efforts to deliver results in priority areas of trade and investments, defence and security, migration and mobility, education, S&T, climate cooperation and green energy.
Both sides appreciated the substantial progress made in the India-UK FTA negotiations with two productive rounds already completed since their launch in January 2022.
The two sides also discussed the implementation of the Migration and Mobility Partnership which has the potential to bring the people of both countries even closer. They also discussed the modalities of instituting the Strategic Tech Dialogue to enhance cooperation on new and emerging strategic technologies like 5G, AI and quantum.
The two Ministers agreed to resolve legacy issues and deepen defence and security cooperation including in defence co-development and co-production, and enhance capacities to address growing threats in the cyber, space and maritime domains. India welcomed the UK’s interest in participating in its national defence manufacturing programme through Make in India and Atmanirbhar Bharat. They agreed to consult intensively on this.
They emphasised the need retain strategic focus on the Indo-Pacific region and in this context, India welcomed the readiness of the UK side in undertaking activities under the Maritime Security Pillar of the Indo-Pacific Ocean’s Initiative (IPOI). IPOI is an open, inclusive, non-treaty based, global initiative that was announced by Prime Minister Modi at the 14th East Asia Summit in November 2019 to promote collaborative efforts among like-minded nations to better manage, conserve, sustain and secure the Indo-Pacific maritime domain.
The Ministers also had the opportunity to exchange views on regional and global issues of mutual interest. On Ukraine, India reiterated that the immediate cessation of violence and return to dialogue and diplomacy is the key to long term peace in the region. On Afghanistan, both sides highlighted the need for Afghanistan to have unhindered access to humanitarian assistance and that Afghan territory is not used by terror outfits for destabilising the region. Iran and JCPOA also featured in the talks. They also discussed matters related to the Commonwealth and the UN Security Council.
Both Ministers also participated in the inaugural edition of the India-UK Strategic Futures Forum, a new 1.5 Dialogue mechanism for expert deliberations on long term strategic links and expanding the horizons of our bilateral cooperation.
During her visit, UK Foreign Secretary also met with Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of Finance, and Shri Ajit Doval, National Security Adviser.