Is UK Foreign Secretary’s travel to India part of diplomatic drive to offset Russia’s aggressiveness in Ukraine?

31 March, 2022 | Vaishali Sharma

Elizabeth Truss National

ommission said that UK Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss, who arrived in India on Thursday for an official visit, will convey to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar that Russia's actions in Ukra...

The British High Commission said that UK Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss, who arrived in India on Thursday for an official visit, will convey to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar that Russia’s actions in Ukraine highlight the importance of democracies working together to deter “aggressors” and “reduce vulnerability to coercion.”

According to a statement provided by the British High Commission, the Foreign Secretary will emphasise the need for all countries to minimise their strategic reliance on Russia at this time of increased global uncertainty. Truss is in India as part of a larger diplomatic campaign to challenge Russia’s aggressiveness in Ukraine ahead of important NATO and G7 meetings next week.

According to a British Foreign Office statement, the British Foreign Secretary will meet with External Affairs Minister Jaishankar to discuss regional and global problems of common concern.

In a meeting with Jaishankar, the Foreign Secretary will examine Russia’s activities in Ukraine, stressing the significance of democracies working together to discourage aggressors, decrease susceptibility to coercion, and promote global security, according to the statement.

“Deeper links between Britain and India would strengthen security in the Indo-Pacific and worldwide, as well as provide employment and opportunities in both nations,” Truss added.

“This matters even more in the context of Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and underlines the need for free democracies to work closer together in areas like defence, trade and cyber security,” the British Foreign Secretary said.

During her visit, Truss will advance negotiations to expand defense-related commerce, including innovative security technologies, in order to enhance defence connections with the world’s greatest democracy.

“India is an economic and technological powerhouse, the world’s largest democracy, and a great friend of Britain, and I want to strengthen our relationship even more,” Truss added.

According to the British High Commission, Truss will also aim to strengthen bilateral cyber security and defence collaboration and will introduce a new cooperative cyber security initiative.

The program’s goal will be to secure both nations’ computer infrastructures against cyberattacks. India and the United Kingdom will collaborate to improve cyber security and conduct joint drills to practise combating cybercriminals and ransomware threats.

Truss and Jaishankar will speak at the India-UK Strategic Futures Forum today to outline their vision for the two nations’ long-term partnership.

According to the statement, the United Kingdom and India will also agree to expand their marine cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region. The United Kingdom will join India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative as a main partner on maritime security problems, coordinating cooperation with key Southeast Asian partners.

This strengthened relationship on maritime security builds on HMS Queen Elizabeth and the Carrier Strike Group (CSGvisit)’s visit to India last year, which symbolised the UK’s world-leading defence capacity.

Since entering office, the Foreign Secretary has made it a priority to strengthen ties with India.

This is her second visit to the country as Foreign Secretary, following one in October, and her third in 13 months as Secretary of State.

Since the 2030 Roadmap was agreed upon last year, the United Kingdom and India have begun discussions on a free trade agreement (FTA).

During her visit, the Foreign Secretary will also approve 70 million pounds in British International Investment (BII) financing for renewable energy in India. This will aid in the development of renewable energy capability and solar power in the region. According to the release, she will also clarify plans for a new platform that would allow British investors to bid on green infrastructure, technology, and business possibilities in India. The visit of the British Foreign Secretary coincides with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s formal two-day visit to India. On Friday, Lavrov is scheduled to meet and speak with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.