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Indian Army Chief visits UK and Italy to boost bilateral ties

Indian Army Chief. (Indian Army/Twitter)
July 06, 2021

The Indian Army’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Manoj Mukund Naravane embarked on a four-day visit from July 5 to July 8 to the UK and Italy to bolster military ties with the two key European countries.

“Army Chief Naravane will be meeting his counterparts and senior military leaders of the two countries to explore ways to boost military cooperation,” the Indian Army said in a statement on Sunday.

In the primary phase of his visit, Naravane held talks with the UK’s secretary of state for defense, chief of defense staff, chief of general staff, and other dignitaries, according to the Army. He will also be visiting various army formations where he will exchange ideas on issues of mutual interest.

During the visit, India is looking to expand its sphere of friendship within the epicenter of European democracies. The visit comes at a time when India and the UK are looking to refashion ties, especially after the latter’s exit from the European Union.

During a summit between the prime ministers of the two countries in May, India and the UK unveiled a decade-long roadmap to guide cooperation. Defense and security ties were highlighted as one of five key pillars to elevate the relationship to a “comprehensive strategic partnership,” which is factored as a bright component in India’s proactive and positive approach.

Recently, during the development of naval deployment by the Royal Navy, the UK announced that its carrier strike group (CSG), led by the flagship carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, will undertake a “global deployment” and visit many countries, including India, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore. The deployment is seen as reinforcing the UK’s new tilt towards the Indo-Pacific region.