London: Defence minister Rajnath Singh held a bilateral meeting with UK Defence Minister Mr Grant Shapps in London on January 09, 2024. The meeting was very warm with a fruitful exchange of ideas on both sides. Both Ministers discussed a range of defence, security and cooperation matters with particular emphasis on enhancing defence industrial collaboration.
Mr Grant Shapps stressed that the relationship between UK and India is not transactional, instead both countries are natural partners with many commonalities and shared goals.
Singh noted with appreciation the growing strategic convergence between the two countries, particularly in the Indo-Pacific.
The bilateral defence meeting was followed by the signing of two agreements between India and UK – an MoU on conduct of bilateral international cadet exchange programme, and a Letter of Arrangement between Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) on defence collaboration in research and development.
These documents will provide impetus to the people-to-people exchanges particularly among the youth, and larger area of defence research collaboration between the two countries.
After arriving in London late on 8th January, the defence minister began his London engagements by paying floral tributes to Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi at his statue at Tavistock Square earlier today.
Mahatma Gandhi had studied law at the nearby University College London from 1888 to 1891. 9th January is a symbolic date from the perspective of Mahatma Gandhi’s return from South Africa to Mumbai in 1915, which is commemorated in the form of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in India, marking the rich contribution of the Overseas Indian community towards the development of the country.
Mr Singh was presented a ceremonial Guard of Honour at the Horse Guards Parade Ground before the bilateral meeting with his UK counterpart.