Sunak hopes FTA talks will conclude soon, expresses keenness for def, security cooperation

London: UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has expressed the hope that the ongoing negotiations with India for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) would be concluded soon while also underlining his government’s keenness to strengthen the defence and security partnership between the two countries.
At a meeting at 10 Downing Street in London last night with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, he agreed with the Indian leader on the need for India and the UK to work in the domains of trade, defence and technology.
Mr Sunak said his administration desires to strengthen the defence and security pillar of the bilateral relationship, including through government backing for stronger business and technology partnerships with Indian counterpart entities.
The Ministry of Defence on Thursday said the meeting was warm and cordial. Mr Singh highlighted that both nations have made significant strides in moulding and recrafting the historic ties into a modern, multifaceted and mutually beneficial partnership, under the direction of the leaders of both countries.
He recalled the recent enhancement in bilateral defence engagement, spanning joint exercises, training, capability building, increased interoperability, military-to-military ties especially in the maritime domain. He emphasised the ongoing efforts to enhance defence industrial cooperation, including in the technology domain.
Mr Singh also briefed Mr Sunak about his positive interactions with the UK defence industry and the new positive energy in the bilateral defence relationship.
The Indian minister was of the view that the UK and other like-minded countries should work with India for strengthening a peaceful and stable global rules-based order, including through partnering India in its inexorable rise, which can be strengthened, reinforced and speeded up with friendly collaboration.
Mr Singh also met with the UK’s Foreign Minister Lord David Cameron at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. The two ministers appreciated the new momentum and direction of the India-UK partnership, symbolised by intense engagements at various levels.

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