The inaugural India-UK ‘2+2’ foreign and defence dialogue on Monday saw the two sides focusing on ways to boost cooperation in a range of key areas such as trade and investment, defence, critical technologies, civil aviation, health and energy.
At the senior official-level dialogue, the two sides also discussed international developments including in the Indo-Pacific region and considered the possibility of enhancing anti-terror collaboration, according to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
The 2+2 dialogue at the senior official level is a mechanism to discuss and review all aspects of the India-UK comprehensive strategic partnership.
The dialogue took place as the two sides are exploring the possibility of a visit to India by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak later this month.
The MEA said the two sides discussed “possibilities for further collaboration particularly in areas of trade and investment, defence, critical and emerging technologies, civil aviation, health, energy, culture and strengthening peoples connect.”
“The officials had an opportunity to exchange assessments about recent international developments including in the Indo-Pacific region, given their shared vision for peace, stability and prosperity and for a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region,” the ministry said in a statement.
“They also considered the possibility of enhancing collaboration in areas of counterterrorism, HADR (Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief) and maritime security,” it added.
The India-UK relationship was elevated to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership during the India-UK virtual summit held between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his then-British counterpart Boris Johnson in May 2021.
At the summit, the two sides adopted a 10-year roadmap to expand ties in the key areas of trade and economy, defence and security, climate change and people-to-people connections, among others.
The Indian delegation at the dialogue was co-chaired by Piyush Srivastava, Joint Secretary (Europe West) at the MEA and Vishwesh Negi, Joint Secretary (International Cooperation) at the defence ministry.
The UK delegation was co-chaired by Ben Mellor, India Director at the Indian Ocean Directorate in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and Lt General Rob Magowan, Deputy Chief of Defence Staff, Finance and Military Capability at the British Ministry of Defence.
“Both delegations expressed satisfaction at the regular high-level political exchanges and interactions which have provided guidance and momentum to India-UK multifaceted ties,” the MEA said.
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