Boris Johnson will promise to sell more weapons to India during talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Boris Johnson will promise to sell more weapons to India when he meets with Narendra Modi today for important talks in New Delhi.

But the prime minister came under fire yesterday after he posed for a picture at a JCB plant as his bulldozers cleared a Muslim slum.

Human rights activists called Johnson’s visit “ignorant” amid plans to reduce India’s dependence on Russian military hardware.

The UK will make it easier to export defense kits by issuing an Open General Export License (Ogel) to India to reduce bureaucracy and shorten delivery times – the first Ogel in the Indo-Pacific region.

Boris Johnson poses on a JCB tractor in Vadodara next to Chairman Lord Bamford (bottom right)

The Prime Minister, Pictured With Hindu Saints At Gandhinagar, Makes A Two-Day Trip.

The Prime Minister, Pictured With Hindu Saints At Gandhinagar, Makes A Two-Day Trip.

The Prime Minister, pictured with Hindu saints at Gandhinagar, makes a two-day trip.

Today, Johnson will discuss defense and security cooperation with India’s prime minister, but intends to take a soft stance on the country’s failure to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

And he will argue that “what (Vladimir) Putin is doing is completely against the interests of stability” – but it is not expected to lead India to condemn the Russian president in harsher terms.

Johnson told ITV last night: “Many weeks ago I had a conversation with Narendra Modi in which I pointed out to him that India has a huge influence in the world, one of the great world powers…

“I will certainly argue that what Putin is doing is completely contrary to the interests of stability.”

The Prime Minister also said that dozens of Ukrainians are being trained in the UK to handle armored vehicles, and Ukrainians in Poland are studying air defense.

The personnel will be trained to work with reconnaissance combat vehicles and protective mobile vehicles.

Mr Johnson Sparked Controversy When He Met With Lord Bamford A Day After The Indian Government Used Jcb Trucks To Clear Muslim Slums.

Mr Johnson Sparked Controversy When He Met With Lord Bamford A Day After The Indian Government Used Jcb Trucks To Clear Muslim Slums.

Mr Johnson sparked controversy when he met with Lord Bamford a day after the Indian government used JCB trucks to clear Muslim slums.

Johnson was greeted with a carnival reception yesterday morning when he landed in India. In Ahmedabad, in the western state of Gujarat, hundreds of streets were adorned with billboards welcoming him to the city.

At the opening of a new JCB plant in the Gujarati city of Vadodara, it was shown by the owner of the company, Lord Bamford, a major Tory donor.

But his photo shoot came when India’s Supreme Court intervened to stop bulldozers that were tearing down illegal shops and walls around a mosque in New Delhi’s predominantly Muslim neighborhood on Wednesday.

Clashes in several parts of India have been followed by demolitions in what critics say is an attempt by the ruling Bharatiya Janata party to intimidate India’s 200 million Muslims.

Last night, Amnesty International India called the prime minister’s visit “ignorant” and said “his silence on the incident is deafening.” Mr. Johnson offered to raise the issue with Mr. Modi, who is accused of fomenting anti-Muslim sentiment.

The Prime Minister said, “Of course, we always raise difficult issues, but the fact is that India is a country of 1.35 billion people and it is democratic, it is the largest democracy in the world.”

Downing Street defended the visit last night, saying it was “a matter for the Indian authorities” and “JCB is a great example of a British company that has invested heavily in India.”

The prime minister also reiterated a suggestion that he is willing to offer more visas to Indian workers and students, saying India can help fill a “massive shortage” of IT professionals in the UK, as well as provide staff for the National Health Service.

Mr Johnson said there was “a lot to be done”.

So can Boris sever the ties that made India Putin’s ally?

Commentary by Kapil Komireda, author Sinister Republic: A Brief History of New India

Boris Johnson is no stranger to India. His ex-wife, Marina Wheeler, is the daughter of a prominent Indian socialite, and Johnson was once a familiar figure in Mumbai and Delhi.

This attachment means that, unlike some of his predecessors, he is very sensitive to the feelings of his hosts, who gave him a lavish reception yesterday in Gujarat.

The Prime Minister Was Warmly Welcomed During The Visit.  He Arrived In New Delhi Yesterday

The Prime Minister Was Warmly Welcomed During The Visit.  He Arrived In New Delhi Yesterday

The Prime Minister was warmly welcomed during the visit. He arrived in New Delhi yesterday

He became the first British prime minister to visit the state – a diplomatic move, a prudent one, given that Gujarat is the home state of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and many Gujaratis have settled in the UK.

Post-Brexit trade deals are in the spotlight: two previous visits were canceled due to the pandemic, and now the pressure continues.

But an unexpectedly awkward obstacle stands in the way: the war in Ukraine. This has become a major source of contention in diplomatic relations between India and the West.

The world’s largest democracy has historical ties to the UK and is a key trading partner. India has also become a close partner of the US, which Washington courts as a democratic counterbalance to China.

Yet India has consistently refused to condemn Moscow’s invasion.

In early March, the US State Department went so far as to publish a memorandum accusing India of belonging to the “Russian camp”, although it was quickly withdrawn.

Boris tried to get Delhi to take sides by sending Foreign Minister Liz Truss, but with no apparent success. But he understands Britain has more to lose than gain by pressuring India to give up Moscow.

Mr. Johnson Will Try To Convince Indian Officials To Reduce Their Dependence On Weapons Manufactured In Moscow.

Mr. Johnson Will Try To Convince Indian Officials To Reduce Their Dependence On Weapons Manufactured In Moscow.

Mr. Johnson will try to convince Indian officials to reduce their dependence on weapons manufactured in Moscow.

Delhi has been Russia’s closest Asian partner for more than five decades. Their relationship developed during the Cold War, when the US sought to isolate India, entered into a cordial agreement with China, and patronized Pakistan with arms and aid.

In parallel, Moscow has used its veto power to defend India at UN Security Council meetings when necessary, maintain vital trade relations, and supply much-needed military equipment.

Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev once told the Indians that “if you ever call us from the mountain peaks, we will be at your side.”

In 1971, India made that call when a US-backed Pakistani military junta committed genocide in what is now Bangladesh, killing three million Bengalis and displacing ten million people.

When India authorized military action following Pakistan’s preemptive strikes on Indian airfields, the US and UK sent navies into the Bay of Bengal to intimidate India.

Moscow sent an enemy fleet to protect him. Bangladesh was liberated in a matter of days, but this experience, when other democracies united in the ranks of supporters of the genocidal regime, shaped the worldview of a generation of Indians.

India remains dependent on Moscow for most of its defense needs.

And given its geographic curse—it’s located between two hostile nuclear adversaries, Pakistan and China, who have both waged wars against it—it can hardly afford to antagonize its primary military supplier.

All of this explains why Boris Johnson will refrain from openly attacking Delhi for its ties to Moscow, although he is likely to promote British expertise in the defense industry as an alternative to Russian weapons.

His goal, however, is to reach an ambitious deal with India to remove barriers to free trade.

India is already the second largest source of foreign direct investment in the UK. Between 2020 and 2021, Indian companies have invested in 100 UK projects and created around 5,000 jobs.

On the other hand, British investment in India, the third largest, provides one in 20 jobs in the private sector.

The prime minister’s first action in India was to announce health and software trade deals that would create 11,000 jobs in the UK.

Making a free trade deal has proved difficult so far, in part because India, due to its colonial past, is very protective of its market.

The US and EU do not have bilateral free trade agreements with India.

While Johnson may be struggling to change India’s stance on Russia, he is confident that before the end of 2022 he will achieve something that has long eluded his predecessors at home and his counterparts in the West.