London: HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier-led Carrier Strike Group’s major port stop in Mumbai is the UK’s Indo-Pacific tilt in action, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said in India on Saturday.
The minister, who arrived in Mumbai from New Delhi, said her visit is aimed at forging stronger security and defence links with India, the world’s largest democracy, as a key part of the UK’s Indo-Pacific strategy.
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said that the minister sees India as “essential” in ensuring a free, open, inclusive and prosperous Indo-Pacific.
“Closer defence and security partnerships between the UK and India underpin deeper economic ties and make both countries, as well as the wider region, safer,” said Truss.
“We need to protect our sea and trade routes and, operating from a position of strength, be hard-headed in defending our interests and challenging unfair practices. The arrival of the Carrier Strike Group in India this weekend represents the UK’s Indo-Pacific tilt in action.
“This is a true symbol of Global Britain, working closely with like-minded partners like India,” she said.
The HMS Queen Elizabeth ship is the spearhead of the Carrier Strike Group (CSG), which is dubbed a symbol of the UK’s world-leading defence capability.
Its visit to Mumbai this weekend is described by the FCDO as a clear sign of the UK’s growing defence and maritime cooperation with India.
While in India, the CSG is taking part in the most “demanding exercise ever” undertaken between the UK and India, involving all three military services.