Monday, October 04, 2004

UK/India to have closer military relationship?

The UK and India want to forge a closer military/defense relationship:

Britain today said it wanted "closer" interaction with India on defence cooperation, combating terrorism and wanted New Delhi to have its due place in a re-structured United Nations.

"My visit here is focused on developing a closer rapport with my Indian counterpart as well as formulating closer interaction with New Delhi on terrorism and reforms to the United Nations" British Defence Secretary Geoffrey Hoon, told newsmen during a stop-over here on his way to Islamabad.

Hoon, who leaves for Pakistan tomorrow, to return here on Wednesday to begin a three-day official visit, said the thrust of his talks with Indian Defence officials would be on reviving the Indo-British co-production of defence equipment at the level of the late 60's and 70's.

Pointing out that the reinforcement of joint strategic partnership was in pursuit of a more peaceful and secure world, Hoon, who would be leading a high-level delegation for talks with Indian officials, said the two countries would build upon and expand programmes of joint military training and exercises.

While brushing aside comments that his visit here was aimed at promoting British Typhoon fighter contract for the Indian Air Force in competition to the French Mirages, he said "we will explore the co-production of defence equipment".

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