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NEW DELHI: Britain and India agreed on Friday to step up defence and business cooperation during a visit to New Delhi by Boris Johnson, who said a bilateral free-trade deal could be wrapped up by October.

On his first visit to the Indian capital as UK prime minister, Johnson discussed with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi ways to boost security ties with India, which buys more than half of its military hardware from Russia.

India’s foreign secretary, however, said Johnson did not put pressure on Modi over New Delhi’s position on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Prime Minister Johnson shared his perspective on it, Prime Minister Modi shared ours - which is that the Russia-Ukraine war should end immediately,” Harsh Vardhan Shringla told reporters. “There was no pressure of any kind.”

India abstained from a United Nations vote condemning the invasion and unlike Britain and other Western nations has not imposed sanctions on Moscow, which calls Russia’s actions in Ukraine a “special military operation”.

UK’s Johnson to offer India alternatives to Russia ties on visit

“We had wonderful talks that have strengthened our relationship in every way,” Johnson told a joint news briefing with Modi on the final day of his two-day trip.

“We have agreed a new and expanded defence and security partnership, a decades-long commitment that will not only forge tighter bonds between us, but support your goal of Make in India,” he said, referring to Modi’s domestic manufacturing push.

Johnson said negotiators from the two countries were expected to complete a free-trade deal by the end of this year. “We’re telling our negotiators to get it done by Diwali in October. This could double our trade and investments by the end of the decade,” he said.

DEFENCE TECH Johnson, who is under political pressure at home for breaking his own lockdown rules during the pandemic, said Britain would support India’s goal of building its own fighter jets, to reduce expensive imports of military equipment. India now has a mix of Russian, British and French fighter jets.

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SAMIR SARDANA Apr 23, 2022 08:29am
Y is India NOT a part of AU-UK-US ? NATO has seen the worth of the Indian weasels in the Galwan war and the disaster of COVID and now with Oil at 100 USD. India is NOT a NATO Partner against Russia or PRC Indians weasels cannot stand up to PRC And now Russia is in the PRC embrace forever.Putin saved the Indian weasels from the PLA in Galwan. Chaiwala Modi is feeding Putin (by buying his Oil) to target NATO.Russia might sink a Brit warship or carrier. Who is BOJO arming Chaiwala against ? Russia OWNS THE INDIAN ARMY and its Top Brass,and the Navy and IAF are technologically OBSOLETE - vis-a-vis PRC. WHAT STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP CAN UK OR NATO HAVE WITH CHAIWALA - IF THEY CANNOT EVEN GET HIM TO STOP BUYING "INCREMENTAL RUSSIAN OIL" ? dindooohindoo
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Proud Hindu Apr 23, 2022 12:33pm
@SAMIR SARDANA, Happy Ramadan!
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