India’s importance to the UK is inescapable but….
New Delhi, Jan 13: While giving India the attention it deserves, the UK government needs to accept that gaining direct national benefit from the relationship, whether economically or diplomatically, will be difficult says a report by Chatham House, a major British think-tank.
The report Global Britain, Global Broker calls for a shift in the strategic focus and says that the UK should be more realistic about developing deeper ties with India, which it clubs with China, Saudi Arabia and Turkey while terming them as the difficult four.
"India's importance to the UK is inescapable. But it should be obvious by now that the idea of a deeper relationship with India always promises more than it can deliver. The legacy of British colonial rule consistently curdles the relationship. In contrast, the US has become the most important strategic partner for India, as recent US administrations have intensified their bilateral security relations, putting the UK in the shade," the report says.
The report says that India's complex, fragmented domestic politics have made it one of the countries most resistant to open trade and foreign investment. The overt Hindu nationalism of the ruling BJP is weakening the rights of the Muslims and other minority religions, leading to a chorus of concern that intolerant majoritarianism is replacing the vision of a secular, democratic India bequeathed by Nehru.
"India did not join the group of countries that criticized China at the UN in July 2019 over human rights violations in Xinjiang. India has also been muted in its criticism of the passage of the new national security law in Hong Kong. With Indian domestic politics also having entered a more ethno-nationalist phase, as noted earlier, a D10 might end up functioning as a D9 at some point in the future, with all the damaging knock-on effects this would have on the UK's relations with India," the report also says.