UK Foreign Secy Liz Truss to arrive in India today
UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss will be in India on Thursday as part of a “wider diplomatic push” following Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine last month, British diplomats said Wednesday.
The British Foreign Secretary will meet External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and convey that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine underlines the importance of democracies working closer together to “deter aggressors, reduce vulnerability to coercion and strengthen global security”, a diplomatic source said.
“She wants to counter Russia’s aggression and reduce global strategic dependence on the country ahead of key NATO and G7 meetings next week,” the source said.
During her trip, Truss will hold talks to develop defence-related trade, including innovative security technology, strengthening defence ties with India.
She will also work to deepen cybersecurity and defence cooperation between the two countries, and announce a new joint cybersecurity programme, sources said.
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 combating threats from cybercriminals and ransomware, sources said.
The British Foreign Secretary will also confirm plans to hold the first Strategic Tech Dialogue, a ministerial-level summit on emerging technology.
Sources said that 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 source said.
The CSG took part in the “most demanding” exercise ever undertaken between the UK and India, involving all three military services, sources said.
Strengthening ties with India has been a “priority” for the British Foreign Secretary since taking up the role, sources said. 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, sources said.
“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,” the source said.
In May 2021, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a commitment to strengthen work between UK and India over the next decade.