Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is in India today (Thursday 31 March) as part of a wider diplomatic push following Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine last month.

In a meeting with India’s External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, the Foreign Secretary will say Russia’s invasion of Ukraine underlines the importance of democracies working closer together to deter aggressors, reduce vulnerability to coercion and strengthen global security.

She wants to counter Russia’s aggression and reduce global strategic dependence on the country ahead of key NATO and G7 meetings next week.

During her trip, Truss will progress talks to develop defence-related trade, including innovative security technology, strengthening defence ties with the world’s largest democracy.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said:

Deeper ties between Britain and India will boost security in the Indo-Pacific and globally, and create jobs and opportunities in both countries.

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 will also work to deepen cyber security and defence co-operation between the two countries, and will announce a new joint cyber security programme.

The programme will aim to protect online infrastructure in both countries from attacks. 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 UK and India will also agree to closer maritime co-operation in the Indo-Pacific. The UK will join India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative and become a lead partner on maritime security issues, coordinating work with key partners in Southeast Asia.

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 3 military services.

Strengthening ties with India has been a priority for the Foreign Secretary since taking up the role. This is her second trip to the country as Foreign Secretary following her visit last October and her third as a Secretary of State in 13 months.

Since the 2030 Roadmap was agreed last year, the UK and India have launched free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations.

On her trip the Foreign Secretary will also confirm £70 million of British International Investment (BII) funding to support renewable energy use in India. This will help build renewable energy capacity and develop solar power in the region. She will also confirm plans for a new platform to allow British investors to bid for green infrastructure, technology, and business opportunities in India.

Current volatility in oil and gas prices and energy security concerns, as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, underscore the importance of India’s green transition and move towards energy self-sufficiency.

Background

  • in May 2021, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an historic commitment to strengthen work between the UK and India over the next decade. The new Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and the ‘2030 Roadmap’ will bring our countries, economies, and people closer together and boost cooperation in areas that matter to both countries

  • the new cyber programme is part of our Enhanced Cyber Partnership, as endorsed by Prime Minister Johnson and Prime Minister Modi in the UK-India 2030 Roadmap

  • the Foreign Secretary and External Affairs Minister Jaishankar will address the India-UK Strategic Futures Forum later today (Thursday, March 31) to set out their vision for the long-term relationship between the 2 countries.

  • the Foreign Secretary will also confirm plans to hold the first Strategic Tech Dialogue, a ministerial-level summit on emerging technology

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