Focus on Indo-Pacific, BoJo won’t ‘lecture’ India on Ukraine

UK PM Boris Johnson will discuss the Ukraine issue with his counterpart Narendra Modi in their meeting on Friday but without losing sight of the Indo-Pacific and also without “lecturing” India on how to go about its ties with Russia. Laying out the agenda for the summit, sources said an Indo-Pacific that’s free from coercion will be central to Johnson’s conversations here.
Johnson’s Indo-Pacific focus is important for India as the government here is concerned that recent developments in Ukraine could shift the attention away from the region, apart from driving Russia into a tighter strategic embrace with China.
“Johnson will set out UK’s position on Ukraine and listen to India but, like foreign secretary Elizabeth Truss when she was here, he won’t look to lecture India. There will be discussions on long-term consequences of the Ukraine crisis but the UK PM will not lose sight of the Indo-Pacific. In fact, an open Indo-Pacific that’s free from coercion will be central to his conversations here,” said a source familiar with the likely agenda for the summit on Saturday.
Sources also said UK is looking to support India’s defence indigenisation efforts and that there will be discussions on defence-industrial collaboration including technology transfer. Like US President Joe Biden in his recent virtual meeting with Modi, Johnson is expected to discuss ways to reduce India’s reliance on defence procurement from Russia and also enhance India’s energy security.
However, while Johnson won’t lecture India on Ukraine, sources said he will call for democracies to work together and discuss ways for them to become more resilient. Johnson had said earlier this week democracies needed to stick together against autocratic states. Johnson, who has been banned by Russia from the country, is also expected to brief Modi about his recent visit to Kyiv.
India and UK have completed 2 rounds of negotiations for a free trade agreement and the talks on Friday are expected to further encourage the ongoing negotiations. Asked about Indian fugitives like Vijay Mallya living in the UK, sources said it was for the judiciary to take a view on such cases. Asked about the activities of pro-Khalistan groups in UK, the source said UK won’t allow any activity that’s on the wrong side of the law. The source said Johnson was visiting Gujarat for some significant economic activities but didn’t provide details.

See also  Himachal Pradesh: Why Congress fell back on Virbhadra Singh's legacy

Leave a Comment