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Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Calls On PM Rishi Sunak On UK Visit

According to senior officials familiar with the discussions, defence, trade and regional issues were on the agenda of the talks.

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Defence Minister Rajnath Singh
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Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh called on British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at 10 Downing Street here on Wednesday and discussed a wide range of bilateral issues. 

According to senior officials familiar with the discussions, defence, trade and regional issues were on the agenda of the talks. The progress of the ongoing free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations was also touched upon. Besides Sunak, Singh was also hosted by UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

“Insightful deliberations with the UK Foreign Secretary, Mr David Cameron, on boosting India-UK ties and deepening cooperation between both the countries,” Singh said in a statement on social media. The two high-level meetings followed the minister co-chairing a UK-India Defence Industry CEOs Roundtable with his UK counterpart, Grant Shapps. 

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The roundtable was attended by several chief executives from the UK defence industry, UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) officials, and the UK India Business Council (UKIBC) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) India representatives.  Some of the major defence companies represented at the interaction included BAE Systems, GE Vernova, James Fisher Defence, Leonardo SpA, Martin-Baker Aircraft Company Ltd, SAAB UK, Thales UK, Ultra-Maritime Rolls-Royce, ADS Group, and MBDA UK. 

“Had a wonderful interaction with the industry leaders and CEOs at the UK-India Defence CEO Roundtable in London,” Singh said in a statement on social media. “India envisions an enriching partnership with the UK to cooperate, co-create and co-innovate. By synergising the strengths of both the countries, we can do great things together,” he said. The meeting was also attended by UK Minister of State for Defence Procurement James Cartildge and included thematic discussions on strengthening the India-UK defence industrial relationship.

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According to the Indian Ministry of Defence, the Raksha Mantri welcomed the investment and technology collaboration from the UK and stated that India is ready with a skilled human resource base, a robust pro-FDI and pro-business ecosystem, and a huge domestic market. Singh, on a three-day visit to the UK – the first by an Indian Defence Minister in 22 years, is scheduled to interact with the members of the diaspora at a community reception at the conclusion of his visit on Wednesday evening.

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