Defence

UK Chief of General Staff visits India

Chief of General Staff, United Kingdom, Gen Sir Nicholas Carter’s, visit to India in mid-February was covered by Defence Ministry releasing five photographs and not a word on his engagements/itinerary, writes Anil Bhat

Feb 24, 2018
By Anil Bhat
 
Chief of General Staff, United Kingdom, Gen Sir Nicholas Carter’s, visit to India in mid-February was covered by Defence Ministry releasing five photographs and not a word on his engagements/itinerary. His visit was a follow-up of UK Secretary of State for Defence, Sir Michael Fallon’s visit to India in April 2017, when he and Arun Jaitley, then also the Defence Minister, shared  a vision for the India-UK Defence Partnership in the framework of the Defence and International Security Partnership (DISP), agreed upon in November 2015. 
 
The India-UK defence partnership encompasses stronger military to military engagement, including training and joint exercises and cooperation in defence industry, placing capability and technology development at its core and use the private and public sectors to develop defence solutions for use in home and shared export markets and  further cooperation in defence manufacturing between the UK and Indian companies under ‘Make in India’. Announcements were made including the MOU between Bharat Dynamics and Thales UK on technology transfer opportunities for missile systems and to develop an Advanced Hawk jet trainer jointly by the BAE Systems and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) as well as stronger R&D cooperation, including access to Defence R&D training. The ministers had also agreed to further strengthen their naval interactions, including enhanced Maritime Domain Awareness to exchange information to track terrorists and pirate vessels. This is key to the DISP. The two nations agreed to  focus on best practices in Counter Terrorism, Counter Improvised Explosive Devices, exchange of classified information, air force training, aircraft carriers, maritime safety, shipbuilding and UN peacekeeping. 
 
In December 2017, an infantry company strength of personnel (over 100) of UK Army’s Royal Anglican Regiment came to India to participate in the 14-day Exercise Ajeya Warrior-2017-the third in the series-with Indian Army’s Rajputana Rifles. Conducted in multiple modes in order to achieve complete integration between the two contingents at every stage, the overall aim is to promote bilateral Army-to-Army relations and enhance interoperability while exchanging skills and experience between the Royal British Army and the Indian Army.
 
While Indian Air Force and UK’s Royal Air Force have also been exercising jointly under a series named Indradhanush (meaning rainbow), officers of both countries’ armed forces periodically go for courses in each others’ training insititutions.
 
(The author, a retired Indian Army officer and strategic analyst, can be contacted at wordsword02@gmail.com) 

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