New Delhi: Strengthening ties with India is more important than ever before in the context of the crisis in Ukraine, visiting British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said Thursday.
Her comments came shortly after holding extensive talks with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.
Truss said the Ukraine crisis highlighted the need for like-minded nations to work together and that developments in that country will have far-reaching implications for the globe.
“Strengthening relationship with India is more important than it has ever been precisely because we are living in a more insecure world, precisely because we have (Vladimir) Putin’s appalling invasion of Ukraine,” she said.
“I think it is very significant that sanctions are applied on Russia,” she said addressing the India-UK Strategic Futures Forum along with Jaishankar.
In her opening comments at the talks, Truss said it is important to respect the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity, and international law.
In his remarks, Jaishankar talked about the progress in the implementation of the Roadmap 2030 that was adopted in May last year to further broadbase ties.
Ahead of the talks, the British High Commission in a statement said Truss will convey to Jaishankar that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine underlines the importance of democracies to work together to deter “aggressors” and reduce vulnerability to “coercion”.
There has been a flurry of visits by foreign dignitaries to India in the last few days. US deputy national security adviser Daleep Singh arrived in India on Wednesday while Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov landed in the capital this evening.
According to the statement by the British High Commission, Truss wants to “counter” Russia’s aggression and reduce global strategic dependence on the country ahead of key NATO and G7 meetings next week.
“Deeper ties between Britain and India will boost security in the Indo-Pacific and globally, and create jobs and opportunities in both countries,” Truss is quoted as saying in the statement.
“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,” she said.
The India-UK relationship was elevated to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership during the India-UK virtual summit held between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart Boris Johnson in May last year.
In the summit, the two sides adopted a 10-year-roadmap to expand ties in the key areas of trade and economy, defence and security, climate change and people-to-people connections among others.