London: The UK said on Wednesday it wants to further strengthen its cooperation with India in the fight against terrorism and extremism, while also offering cutting-edge military technology for co-production of weapon systems to jointly become “world beaters” in arms exports.
“No country is immune from terrorism. India and the UK need to work even harder, and more closely, to combat it,” said visiting British secretary of state for defence Michael Fallon, who had earlier held that his country had made it “very clear” to Pakistan that there cannot be any excuse or justification for terrorism.
Fallon, who is accompanied by a high-powered delegation, and finance minister Arun Jaitley, who also holds the charge of defence, will on Thursday chair the first India-UK strategic dialogue, which was agreed to in November 2015 during PM Narendra Modi’s visit to London as part of the bilateral defence and international security partnership.
“Terrorism is high on our agenda,” said Fallon, taking note of the series of terror attacks in recent days in London, St Petersburg, Egypt and other places. He also stressed the need to bolster cooperation on the cyber-security front to counter the expanding online radicalism of youth.
With the UK looking to bolster ties with major economics like India after Brexit, Fallon said the combination of “British expertise and experience with Indian intelligence and brainpower” could be gamechanging in the defence production sector. “In next 12 months I want to see the capability partnerships take off. We, together, can be world-beaters,” he said, adding that UK is thinking of India “not just as a market but a launch pad” to develop top-notch weapons and technologies.
“We are looking at government-to-government framework for transfer of technology… we are very serious about it,” Fallon said, underlining that his country was the second biggest arms exporter in the world after the US.