Johnson offers India know-how to build fighter jets, license for faster defense deliveries

In his first visit to India, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to offer New Delhi know-how to build its own fighter jets and a licence for faster deliveries of defence equipment as it tries to wean India away from Russia.

Johnson will discuss with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi a range of issues including boosting trade and security ties with India.

“The world faces growing threats from autocratic states which seek to undermine democracy, choke off free and fair trade and trample on sovereignty,” said Johnson in a statement after visiting Modi’s home state of Gujarat.

“The UK’s partnership with India is a beacon in these stormy seas. Our collaboration on the issues that matter to both our countries, from climate change to energy security and defence, is of vital importance as we look to the future” said Johnson.

He went on to add, Britain will offer “support for new Indian-designed and built fighter jets, offering the best of British know-how on building battle-winning aircraft”.

Britain has also offered an open general export licence to India to shorten delivery times for defence items, which are currently applicable to the EU and the US.

The United States has tried to pressure New Delhi to buy its more expensive oil and gas and to stop buying cheaper alternatives from Russia, India continues to remain neutral in the Russia Ukraine war.

India has also pointed out that European countries continue to buy greater quantities of Russian energy, which the United States continue to overlook even as it tries to push its green energy credentials, in contrast to its push towards purchasing its oil and gas, which have higher carbon footprint.

The war in Ukraine has heightened the need for India to increasingly rely on its domestic production of defence equipment as it continues to face a belligerent Chinese army at its border.

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