Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has rubbished a report by The Sunday Times that claimed that she was snubbed by her UK counterpart Gavin Williamson. The report had claimed that her request for bilateral meeting was turned down by the UK Defence Minister.
Taking to microblogging site Twitter, the Union Defence Minister termed the report as “baseless” saying she was “disappointed”. She further clarified that the meeting was still on and that a mutually convenient date is being worked out for the same.
— Gavin Williamson MP (@GavinWilliamson) July 1, 2018
The Defence Minister tweeted, “Disappointed,Sunday Times (UK).Baseless story,to say the least.The UK & India have a robust relationship.A mutually convenient date is being worked out for meeting & I look forward to it.”
Her tweet was retweeted by Williamson, who said that even he was looking forward to the meeting.
The Sunday Times had reported that the UK Secretary of State for Defence had declined to allot time during Sitharaman’s three-day window of bilateral talks on security cooperation and defence procurement between June 20 and 22.
Quoting a UK government source, the report had further said, “People are spitting blood about this”.
"India has one of the fastest-growing defence budgets in the world, spending something like USD 50 billion a year. It feels like another ill-judged move by Williamson," the source was quoted as saying.
The report said that Williamson has been accused of angering one of the world's largest emerging economies by snubbing his Indian counterpart.
According to the report, Williamson was under fire from within the UK Cabinet for turning down the bilateral meeting with his Indian counterpart.
(With PTI Inputs)