Johnson’s focus on the Indo-Pacific is important to India, as the government here is concerned that recent developments in Ukraine could shift the region’s focus beyond bringing Russia into a closer strategic embrace with China.
“Johnson will outline the UK’s position on Ukraine and listen to India, but like Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss when she was here, he will not try to lecture India. There will be discussions about the long-term impact of the crisis in Ukraine, but the UK Prime Minister will not lose sight of the Indo-Pacific. In fact, an open Indo-Pacific free from coercion will be at the center of his talks here,” said a source familiar with the probable agenda for the summit on Saturday.
Sources also said the UK wants to support India’s defense indigenous efforts and there will be discussions on defense industrial cooperation, including technology transfer. Like US President Joe Biden at his recent virtual meeting with Modi, Johnson is expected to discuss ways to reduce India’s reliance on defense purchases from Russia and also improve India’s energy security.
While Johnson will not be teaching India about Ukraine, sources said he will call on democracies to work together and discuss ways they can become more resilient. Johnson had said earlier this week that democracies should stick together against autocratic states. Johnson, who has been banned from the country by Russia, is also expected to inform Modi about his recent visit to Kiev.
India and the UK have completed 2 rounds of negotiations for a free trade agreement and talks on Friday are expected to further encourage ongoing negotiations. Asked about Indian fugitives like Vijay Mallya living in the UK, sources said it was up to the judiciary to form an opinion on such matters. Asked about the activities of pro-Khalistan groups in the UK, the source said the UK will not allow activities that violate the law. The source said Johnson visited Gujarat for some key economic activities but did not provide details.