In his first visit to New Delhi as prime minister, the UK Prime Minister will discuss with PM Narendra Modi boosting trade and security ties with the South Asian country that buys more than half of its military hardware from Russia.
“The world faces growing threats from autocratic states which seek to undermine democracy, choke off free and fair trade and trample on sovereignty,” Johnson said in a statement after visiting PM Modi’s home state of Gujarat on Thursday.
“The UK’s partnership with India is a beacon in these stormy seas. Our collaboration on the issues that matter to both our countries, from climate change to energy security and defence, is of vital importance as we look to the future.”
The British Prime Minister was expected to discuss “support for new Indian-designed and built fighter jets, offering the best of British know-how on building battle-winning aircraft.”
Former colonial ruler Britain will issue a so-called open general export licence to India to shorten delivery times for defence items. Currently only the European Union and the United States have such a licence, according to Johnson’s spokesperson.
In a bid to move India away from Russia, the United States has also offered more defence and energy sales to New Delhi. Despite pressure from the United States, PM Modi’s government has refused to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine except for calling for an end to violence.
India has also continued to buy Russian oil, reasoning that European countries were doing the same and in much greater quantities.