British defence secretary to visit India Nov 22-23

Saturday, November 20, 2010

NEW DELHI - British Defence Secretary Liam Fox will visit India Nov 22-23 to take forward the broad-based cooperation in the defence sector envisaged by the prime ministers of the two countries at their meeting earlier this year.

Fox’s visit represents the next stage in taking this forward, a British High Commission statement said Saturday.

Together with Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony, Fox will provide senior political leadership to the bilateral defence relationship. This will ensure that the defence aspects of the new UK-India enhanced partnership play their rightful, central role, the statement added.

During his visit, Fox will meet Antony as well as other union ministers and senior national security officials. He will lay a wreath at India Gate to mark his respects for fallen servicemen.

Fox will visit the DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) Medical Research Lab Headquarters here as part of the growing co-operation between Britain and India in defence science and technology.

He will also visit Cassidian’s New Delhi offices to discuss and promote the Eurofighter Typhoon’s bid to meet the Indian Air Force’s requirement for a medium multi-role combat aircraft.

Cassidian is the new name of the defence and security division of European aerospace and electronics giant EADS.

The major public event of Fox’s visit will be his keynote speech at the Vivekananda International Foundation Nov 22. The minister will address a high-level audience on Britain’s Strategic Defence and Security Review.

In their joint statement July 29, Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and David Cameron welcomed “the development of broad-based UK-Indian co-operation in the defence sector”.

This will be first visit by a British defence secretary to India since 2005.

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