- GS-2: Bilateral Relations; Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries
Context: Virtual Summit scheduled between Indian PM Modi and his UK Counterpart Boris Johnson
The virtual summit will witness the roll-out of a new “Enhanced Trade Partnership” that is expected to pave the way for a future free trade agreement.
Irritants in India-UK relationship
- Colonial History: If the anti-colonial resentment against Britain is always seething barely below the surface among the Indian political and bureaucratic classes, London has found it difficult to shed its own prejudices about India
- Divergence on Pakistan: The bitter legacies of the Partition and Britain’s perceived tilt to Pakistan have long complicated the engagement between Delhi and London.
- Growing anti-Indian sentiments: Delhi’s problems have been accentuated by the British Labour Party’s growing political negativity towards India & Indian migrants in UK. Ironically, it was the same party that supported Nationalists during freedom struggle.
Why India and Britain need each other?
- Need for Economic Partnerships: Britain has walked out of EU and India has refused to join RCEP. Although both will continue to trade with their regional partners, they are eager to build new global economic partnerships.
- Changing Geopolitics: The centre of international politics has shifted from Atlantic to Indo-Pacific. India is a natural ally for Britain in Indo-Pacific. India which is witnessing rise of China in Indo-Pacific, needs as wide a coalition as possible to restore a semblance of regional balance.
- Climate Change: Both sides are committed to finding common ground on climate change.
- Health Cooperation: The issues of immediate relief supplies of oxygen & other medical equipment, resilient medical supply chains have potential for bilateral strategic cooperation in the health sector and contributions to the global war on the virus.