India and the UK have decided to scale up bilateral defence cooperation with a multipronged approach that includes an increase in military exercises, collaboration on the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft and significantly, plans to work on the future fighter jet engine requirement of the air force.
PM Modi & Johnson at their summit have also agreed on new cooperation on Maritime Domain Awareness, which includes new agreements on maritime information sharing, an invitation to the UK to join India’s Information Fusion Centre in Gurgaon and an ambitious exercise programme which includes joint tri-lateral exercises, according to officials.
The two countries are also working to conclude a Logistics Memorandum of Understanding that will enhance joint ability to tackle shared challenges, it has been learnt. In addition to commitments on the Indo-Pacific, the two PMs agreed to build on existing government-to-government collaboration on India’s future combat air engine requirement. As part of a ‘2030 Roadmap’, the leaders agreed to work closely together in support of India’s indigenous development of the Light Combat Aircraft Mark 2, officials said The combat air engine requirement is among the top priorities for India that is seeking to go independent for future requirements of fighters.
The mission to develop a new engine for the future Advanced Multi Role Combat Aircraft has been accorded special priority by the PMO that ha been overseeing the project. Both France and the UK have promised technology and studies are currently underway to ascertain which partnership can prove to be more beneficial for the program.
The India-UK 2030 roadmap announced at the Summit envisages expanding cooperation under the Defence and International Security Partnership (DISP) agreed in 2015 It aims to promote freedom of navigation and open access