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British CDS holds talks with top Indian military brass; says India, UK 'natural partners'

NEW DELHI (PTI): India and the UK are "natural partners" in a world that is becoming more "contested and volatile", Britain's Chief of the Defence Staff Admiral Sir Tony Radakin said on Monday as he began a three-day visit to India.

Admiral Radakin is taking part in a series of high-level meetings in India this week, continuing momentum in building strategic ties between the two countries.

The British CDS began his visit to India by paying homage to the fallen soldiers at the National War Memorial this morning ahead of his first meeting with his Indian counterpart Gen Anil Chauhan.

The two chiefs reviewed progress on various pillars of the UK-India defence partnership and exchanged views to further expand ties in all the domains, a British readout said.

It said the UK and India are natural partners in defence and share a strong and enduring relationship, including collaboration in research, development and training.

Admiral Radakin said his visit to India reflects the UK's belief that our security is indivisible from that of the wider world.

"As a global trading nation it matters to the UK that the Indo-Pacific is open and free, which is why the British Armed Forces are establishing the broadest and most integrated presence in the region of any European nation," he said.

"India and the UK are natural partners in a world that is becoming more contested and volatile. We share many of the same democratic instincts and values and are both committed to the rule of law," he was quoted in the readout.

Admiral Radakin said India and the UK can do more in the area of defence cooperation.

"We are respected military powers, both undergoing significant investment and modernisation, and exercising together across, land, sea and air. But we can do more. I value the opportunity to meet with General Anil Chauhan to discuss how we can develop our partnership in a way that benefits our mutual security and prosperity," the British CDS added.

Admiral Radakin held discussions with the Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Hari Kumar, Chief of the Army Staff General Manoj Pande, Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane, and Additional Secretary Defence Production T Natarajan.

The release also quoted British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace as saying that India is a valued defence partner for the UK and the relationship continues to flourish across our research and industrial sectors.

"Both our nations are committed to the stability and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific and we continue to train and operate alongside our Indian partners to promote security in the region," he said.

Over the next two days, Admiral Radakin will be hosted by various establishments of the Indian Armed Forces across the country, in a bid to boost military-to-military engagement and explore opportunities around the co-creation of future technologies.

Following the signing of an updated Memorandum of Understanding in 2019, discussions around industrial collaboration in the aerospace sector have been progressing, with the UK's Minister for Defence Procurement visiting India in February and the First Sea Lord visiting in March.

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