In the context of the above, the fact that the two prime ministers “agreed to build on existing government-to-government collaboration on India’s future combat air engine requirement,” is definitely a cause for cautious optimism.
A British government statement after the summit on May 4 read: “As part of a ‘2030 Roadmap’, they agreed to work closely together in support of India’s indigenous development of the Light Combat Aircraft Mark 2 (Tejas). They also spoke of the potential for further industrial collaboration in areas like maritime propulsion, space and cyber, marking the start of a promising new era of UK-India research, capability and industrial collaboration on Indian combat air and beyond.”
Does this mean there’s going to be any forward movement this time? Will a British company like, say Rolls-Royce, now throw its hat into the ring for the co-development of an engine for this plane?
In the light of the upbeat statements of Modi and Johnson and in the context of Dr Jaishankar’s interaction with me, I would certainly hope so.
India and the UK are aligned and enthusiastic.
Never have the two countries been so aligned and enthusiastic. But now the work to convert that political will into reality will have to start immediately. And this will take both sides being innovative in how they work closely with business and other stakeholders to ensure that the chances of slippages between the lip and the cup are significantly reduced.