And our trade deals in agriculture, food processing and much else!
The recent visit of the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to India was more important to Britain. That to India in our view and this might not have struck to many in India, given the long history of our two country and the very mental makeup of the Indian people, more so to the ruling dispensation in India with the obsession with our Hindhutva and the rest of the ideological hangups and we don’t know how the British counterpart was handled, given his own predilections for drama and display of his own obsessions with his own self!
We don’t know how many in India, the general Indian public and the official establishment itself might have been carried away by the British PM’s very many capabilities! The hon’ble British PM carries a heavy legacy, an Etonian, an Oxonian, a classicist and a brilliant orator.
The British establishment is known for its very many unique capabilities, their display of subtleties of demeanor and display of what the British themselves say the charm offensive! The Brits are masters in the game and even the great Mahatma was won over to assent the most dangerous proposal to partition India! The Mountbattens, the husband and wife team didn’t do so? Can we Indians of this generation forget such historic facts?
So this time too the visit of the British Prime Minister after Modi came to power didn’t bother to visit India, he ignored the invite to come and participate in the Republic Day event and the Indo-British relations were once so intertwined, the Commonwealh was once very serious, the group was to have the British monarch at its helm. And the Comonwealth was suppose to spread and defend democracy in the world and now we don’t have a word!
A deadly war is going on in the world today, the Russian-Ukraine war is so serious and what the India-UK relationship means without India-UK playing any meaningful role?
Different world perceptions
What is the outcome of the Boris Johnson – Narendra Modi meeting addressing such a grave world threatening event? Nothing, it seems. This is also a reminder that lately in some diplomatic activity that India and Britain differed and Britian lost once or twice in some diplomatic moves. Indian foreign policy must be updated urgently.
The point here is that the two countries are facing a new kind of world reality. It is time that Indians of this generation learns this differing world perceptions of the world realities!
Yes, we are the two world’s democracies, Britain, the oldest, India, the largest. Let us hope and at least let Indians realise that we must look beyond mass migration of Indian students for higher education and migration for jobs. There are huge number of Indians living in the UK today, Tamil population alone are around 4 million or so. Now Johnson came to India as stated to do some negotiations in trade and defence.
Britian left the European Union (EU) and in a way now feels desperate over its economic growth and economic destability. UK wants India import more and export in key areas like food industry and also skilled personnel like nurses to run the much reputed National Health Services (NHS) where there is almost a near crisis, patients are having a long waiting period before they could get medical consultation. India has great opportunity here.
Anyway, the Indo- British trade is going and something like 4 billion dollar worth export potential is there for India and India is a growing economy and the Indian market is large.
UK is also a large and rich market for a variety of agricultural goods, rice, food exports, meat, fruits and vegetables. And there are large areas of unexploited export opportunities. Indian tourism industry potential is very large and, why, Indian medical tourism itself is a huge opportunity.
The cultural and heritage tourism and why even the Indian higher education sector can play a great role to decisively turn the tide in favour of drawing a big education talent in the sciences and humanities and what we need. When we deal with an old ally like Britain we need a new type of mindset, more self-confident, bold and innovative to win in trade negotiations. The Brits are a travel and entertainment minded people and holiday makers and we have to bring in new consultants and innovators in a range of tourist promotion areas.
The Brits have become a shrunken country and a shrunken population and what we need is a new mindset to win over great many export opportunities.
We have adopted a bureaucracy from the British model. This British born models today doesn’t work in Indian bureaucratic model hasn’t worked satisfactorily for us. See the rise of corruption and the fall of democratic values.
Even the judicial system needs a revamp, there are many inequities, too many under trials in the Indian prison system. The poors are kept in jails for far too long. Judicial reforms too need a radical change. We can learn much from the British experience. See the recent indiscretion on the part of the British PM over a minor violation by 10 Downing Street and yet he was fined and the PM paid his fines ! This is a mature society and mature civilisation. Can such things happen in India?
An active Indo-UK interaction is several areas can only help our country and the people. Now, UK in the trade negotiated would issue more visas for professionals like IT professionals and more liberal UK stay period to work back in UK. Much humanitarian self-help groups can do much in making Indian society a caring and compassionate society. Also, India must become an outward looking society, caring more for refugees and for more migrants.
India must see itself as an internationally high profile nation of a very different humanitarian society. Our British past history must make us a great civilisational society, beyond what we know are taught as a long-term colony where suffered greatly by poverty and superstitions.
India must transform itself as a peace loving country and we must work for a peaceful world, for more genuine democratic and we, as a peace loving country. What otherwise is the lessons from our much loved British legacy. Indians and the Brits must learn to become realistic and mature people, beyond seeking livelihood issues and survival issues driven by more self- interest and less by greater public good.
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