India-U.K. relations after Brexit

India U.K. relations after Brexit

Synopsis: India and UK have shared a past and they need to plan a different future together. 

Introduction  

PM Modi invited the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson as the chief guest for India’s Republic Day parade this month. However, British PM has expressed his inability to attend the ceremony due to COVID-19 mutations in the UK. In Britain’s opinion, the invite from India was quite casual and unplanned. 

  • It is the prime minister’s decision to choose the chief guest for the Republic Day parade and he or she does not have to consult others in or outside the Cabinet.  
  • PM Modi selected the following guests:  
      • U.S. President Barack Obama in 2015. 
      • French President Francois Hollande in 2016. 
      • The Crown Prince of the United Arab Emirates in 2017. 
      • The ASEAN leaders in 2018. 
      • South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in 2019. 
      • Mr. Bolsonaro in 2020, and Mr. Johnson for 2021. 
  • The PM has mostly chosen the leaders from the west out of the 193 countries in the United Nations. Britain is invited for the 6th time.  

Discuss India-Britain relationship in the context of Free Trade Agreements. 

  • India has been unsuccessful in negotiating a trade agreement with the European Union since 2007 and Britain was considered the reason behind this failure.  
  • Now due to Brexit, UK might make every effort to pursue commercial gain in Asian countries with high growth rates.  
  • However, India might face similar hurdles as faced with the EU during FTA negotiations i.e.
      • Both UK and India’s export profile is primarily focused on services. 
      • Britain will mention its new points-based system for immigrants for free movement of professionals. While India, after withdrawing out of RCEP, is wary about discussing any new trade agreement, and will place greater pressure on aspects related to country of origin and percentage of value addition in exports.  
      • Both the countries may settle for a limited agreement covering pharmaceuticals, financial technology, chemicals, defence production, petroleum and food products. 

Why close relations with UK are important? 

Ties between India and U.K. are considerably important because of following reasons: 

  • Firstly, 1.5 million people from Indian origin live in Britain which also includes 15 Members of Parliament, three members in Cabinet and two in high office as Finance and Home Ministers.
      • Before the pandemic hit the world, there were half a million tourists from India to Britain annually and twice that figure from Britain to India.
  • Secondly, approximately 30,000 Indians study in Britain regardless of limited opportunities for post-graduation employment.  
  • Thirdly, Britain is among the top investors in India and India is the second-biggest investor and a major job creator in Britain.
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