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UK defence secretary to take part in first Indo-UK strategic dialogue

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LONDON (PTI): Britain's Defence Secretary Michael Fallon will arrive in India on Tuesday for a four-day visit during which he will take part in the first Indo-UK strategic dialogue.

Fallon will be the third UK Cabinet minister to visit India this month after Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond and energy minister Greg Clark.

"Sir Michael will join his counterpart, Shri Arun Jaitley, for the first India-UK Strategic Dialogue, which was agreed in November 2015 during Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi's visit to London as part of the Defence and International Security Partnership," the British High Commission said in a statement.

The minister will visit Mumbai and Delhi and hold meetings with senior Indian defence ministry officials, military staff and business leaders.

The visit will further cement the Defence and International Security Partnership, which aims to strengthen collaboration and cooperation between India and the UK, including by enhancing mutual capabilities and effectiveness through joint training and doctrine development, the statement said.

The India-UK Strategic Dialogue will look at ways of increasing cooperation in science and technology, research and development, and countering violent extremism, it said.

On Wednesday, the Defence Secretary will be the special guest at a reception hosted by British high commissioner Dominic Asquith in New Delhi to celebrate the birthday of Queen Elizabeth II -- which falls on April 21.

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