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Roundtable interaction with Mr. Peter Luff, MP, Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, United Kingdom

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  • February 08, 2011
    Round Table

    Mr. Peter Luff, MP, Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, United Kingdom, delivered a special address at IDSA on February 8, 2011 on the potential of the Indo-UK strategic partnership. The session was chaired by Ambassador K.P. Fabian and a distinguished audience attended the proceedings.

    Ambassador Fabian welcomed the honoured guest and stated that Mr. Luff had supported efforts in the UK Parliament to promote greater knowledge of and friendship with India and actively campaigned to promote Indo-UK relations. Mr. Luff had founded the Indo-UK Conservative Parliamentary Friendship Group. As Chairman of the Trade and Select Committee he published the report series “Waking up to India” which analysed the potential of the Indo- UK economic relationship (http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200708/cmselect/cmberr/209/20...). He had highlighted the benefits of close indo-UK cooperation to Mr. David Cameron and other Party dignitaries, who had visited India even before forming the Government.

    Mr. Luff described the India-UK partnership and its full potential in the defence and economic spheres (text of speech). He recalled his efforts to promote the business relationship and emphasized the shared understanding about world problems such as international terrorism, the reform of global multilateral institutions and on defence and security issues. He spoke also of shared interests and a strong Indo-UK partnership for the future. He spoke about the relationship between the three armed forces, adding that the defence industrial base was a strong driver of the relationship. In the future, science and technology would be a very strong driver too, after an agreement between the premiere R & D organizations of both countries was concluded. Referring to the UK’s Strategic Defence and Security Review, he spoke of Britain’s commitment to maintain its technological and manufacturing lead in the world. Mr. Luff concluded by reiterating that India-UK partnership must be elevated to a higher pedestal, and hoped that it would come to resemble the UK-US special relationship.

    In the extended Q & A session Mr. Luff answered several questions on technology transfer, joint technological collaborations, and defence industry interactions, stating that he wished to create further opportunities for mutually beneficial interaction. He also answered questions on the issue of military downsizing, resources crunch, weapons systems and their strategic use, and piracy. He emphasized that the UK manufacturing base was strong and there were plenty of opportunities to cooperate bilaterally and with other partners in many areas. There was also a discussion on India’s defence offsets policy.

    In conclusion Ambassador K.P. Fabian thanked Mr. Luff for sharing his thoughts on the future directions of the Indo-UK partnership, and hoped that the horizons for cooperation would keep expanding. Mr. Luff had been a true friend of India and IDSA was honored to have him here. Mr. Luff also expressed his happiness at having visited IDSA on his way to attend Aero India 2011 in Bangalore.

    Prepared by Pratik Jakhar, Intern at IDSA National Strategy Project.

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