Rajnath to leave for London on Monday; first defence minister to visit UK in 22 years

Singh will discuss defence and security issues with his British counterpart

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh | PTI Defence Minister Rajnath Singh | PTI

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will fly to London on a two-day visit to the United Kingdom on January 8, the government said on Sunday. Interestingly, Singh will be the first defence minister to visit the UK in the last 22 years.

The Raksha Mantri will hold a bilateral meeting with his UK counterpart, Secretary of State for Defence Grant Shapps, the defence ministry said in a statement, adding that the two leaders are expected to discuss a wide range of defence, security and industrial cooperation issues.

Singh will be accompanied by a high-level defence ministry delegation, comprising senior officials from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO),  Service Headquarters, Department of Defence, and Department of Defence Production, it said.

Singh is also expected to call on UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and hold a meeting with Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs David Cameron. 

He will also interact with the CEOs and industry leaders of UK Defence Industry and meet with the Indian community there, the defence ministry said.

Quoting people familiar with the matter, PTI reported that Singh's talks with Shapps would largely focus on sharing of critical technology and expanding bilateral industrial defence cooperation.

The two sides are expected to discuss collaboration in joint development of fighter aircraft and other military platforms.

The situation in the Indo-Pacific, West Asia and Ukraine are also likely to come up for discussion between the two leaders.

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