London seeks “deep security partnership” with EU after Brexit

European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, right, and British Secretary of State David Davis depart after delivering a statement for the media at EU headquarters in Brussels on Monday. (AP)
Updated 12 September 2017
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London seeks “deep security partnership” with EU after Brexit

LONDON: Britain wants to have closer defense cooperation with the European Union after Brexit than other countries outside the union, according to a document that sets out a vision of “a deep security partnership” aimed at nudging talks forward.
Britain wants to contribute its military assets to EU operations after it leaves the bloc, the government will say on Tuesday in its sixth “future partnership paper,” part of efforts to counter criticism by EU officials that it is not prepared for negotiations to unravel more than 40 years of union.
Underlining that Britain has the largest defense and development budgets in Europe, officials will press what they consider to be one of their strongest arguments — that the government can offer defense and security support to the EU.
“At a time of increased threats and international instability the UK remains unwavering in its commitment to uphold European security,” Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said in a statement.
“With the largest defense budget in Europe, the largest Navy, British troops and planes deployed across land, air and sea in Europe, our role in the continent’s defense has never been more vital.”
British officials have long championed defense cooperation with European nations, with some suggesting it could be used as leverage in talks which so far have moved slowly, bogged down in arguments over the divorce bill.
Britain has deployed troops in some Baltic states to counter a resurgent Russia, has worked with the EU to tackle piracy off the Horn of Africa and worked on joint defense projects, such as the Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft.
But EU officials say they cannot move on to discuss a future relationship until “sufficient progress” has been made on three priority areas — the rights of expatriates, Britain’s border with EU state Ireland and a financial settlement.
Without that movement, British officials say talks may become stalled particularly on Northern Ireland, arguing that how to deal with the only land border with the EU depends on what kind of future customs deal the two sides will agree.
“After we leave the European Union we will continue to face shared threats to our security, our shared values and our way of life,” Brexit minister David Davis said.
“It’s in our mutual interest to work closely with the EU and its member states to challenge terrorism and extremism, illegal migration, cyber-crime, and conventional state-based military aggression.”


India seizes one ton of ketamine on boat, arrests six Myanmar crew

Updated 17 min 19 sec ago

India seizes one ton of ketamine on boat, arrests six Myanmar crew

  • India’s coast guard seized $42 million worth of ketamine

NEW DELHI: India’s coast guard has arrested six Myanmar men and seized $42 million worth of ketamine after spotting a suspicious vessel in the Indian Ocean near the Nicobar Islands.
The 1,160-kilogram drug haul came after coast guard aircraft spotted the boat, which had its lights off, on Wednesday in India’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the defense ministry said in a statement.
The boat’s crew did not respond to radio calls and the coast guard eventually boarded it, with officials finding “57 gunny bundles of suspicious substance” on Friday.
“Preliminary analysis ... revealed that the suspicious substance was ketamine and there were 1,160 packets of 1kg each onboard the vessel,” the ministry added.
The six Myanmar men and cargo were taken to Port Blair, the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, where they were questioned by investigators.
They claimed they left Myanmar on September 14 and were due to rendezvous with another boat “operating near the Thailand-Malaysia maritime border line” on Saturday, the statement said.
The Nicobar Islands are located near Southeast Asia, off Myanmar’s coast.
Parts of Myanmar, Laos and Thailand are in the lawless “Golden Triangle” zone, the world’s second-largest drug-producing region after Latin America.
Large amounts drugs such as heroin and methamphetamine are churned out in remote jungle labs each year and smuggled across Asia and beyond.