Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has been forging stronger UK security and defence links with India on her trip to the country over the weekend, as she visited HMS Queen Elizabeth in Mumbai.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss on HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier, part of the Carrier Strike Group 2021 on deployment in the Indo-Pacific region, near Mumbai.
Courtesy MoD / gov.uk
The ship is the spearhead of the Carrier Strike Group (CSG), a symbol of the UK’s world-leading defence capability, whose visit to Mumbai is a clear sign of Britain's growing defence and maritime cooperation with India. While in India the CSG has been taking part in the most demanding exercise ever undertaken between the UK and India, involving all three military services.
During her visit the Foreign Secretary progressed talks to ramp up defence and security ties and boost strategic cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region. It will take forward joint work agreed by the Prime Minister and Indian Prime Minister Modi in the landmark 2030 Roadmap on maritime security, cyber security and counter terrorism signed earlier this year.
She will also discuss developing innovative security and defence tech with the Indian government to tackle common threats and will talk through strengthening defence-related trade between the two countries.
The Foreign Secretary sees developing this security and defence relationship with India, the world’s largest democracy, as a key part of the UK’s Indo-Pacific tilt. She wants to strengthen such links with fast-growing economies and like-minded partners in the region and build “a network of liberty” around the globe. The Foreign Secretary sees India as essential in ensuring a free, open, inclusive and prosperous Indo-Pacific.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said: "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. 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.
The Foreign Secretary joined the Queen Elizabeth Carrier at sea to tour the vessel and observe live exercises involving UK and US F35B fighter jets.
Chief of Defence Staff Sir Nick Carter is also visiting Mumbai to see the Carrier Strike Group in action. He joined his Indian counterpart General Bipin Rawat in Delhi to discuss regional security and laid a commemorative wreath at the National War Museum.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: "A strengthened partnership with India is a key pillar of the UK’s tilt to the Indo-Pacific. Our Carrier Strike group visit represents an important step towards our goal of establishing a maritime partnership with India in support of mutual security objectives in the Indian Ocean."
The Foreign Secretary also visited the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai today to lay a wreath at the memorial for those killed in the 2008 terrorist attacks.
On Saturday evening, she welcome senior business leaders and guests from the world of education, film, sport and politics onto HMS Defender, a Type 45 Destroyer, where the UK showcased its world-leading tech and innovation in defence, healthcare, science and climate.