UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has indicated there may be no swift end to the conflict in Ukraine because of the stiff resistance to Russia’s invasion.
The assessment by Johnson was made as the British leader visited India to announce a new defence and security partnership between both countries.
The new partnership was “a decades-long commitment,” Johnson said, hailing the relationship between “one of the oldest democracies, and India, certainly the largest democracy”.
India is part of the Quad grouping with the United States, Japan and Australia that is seen as a bulwark against an increasingly assertive China.
But India also has a long history of cooperation with Moscow, still its biggest military supplier, and has refused to condemn Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.
Asked if he agreed with British defence intelligence assessments that fighting could drag on until the end of 2023, Johnson told reporters in New Delhi on Friday, April 22 “The sad thing is that is a realistic possibility.”
Johnson said Russia’s Vladimir Putin had made a “catastrophic blunder” by invading Ukraine.
“The only option he now has really is to continue to try to use his appalling grinding approach,” he added.
In an apparent reference to Beijing, Johnson said alongside his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi;
“The threats of autocratic coercion have grown even further”
“And it’s therefore vital that we deepen our cooperation, including our shared interest in keeping the Indo-Pacific open and free.”
The new partnership was “a decades-long commitment”, he added, hailing the relationship between “one of the oldest democracies, and India, certainly the largest democracy”.
Johnson said the two had agreed to work together in defence procurement “to meet threats across land, sea and air, space and cyber, including partnering on new fighter jet technology, maritime technologies to detect and respond to threats in the oceans”.