WFY Today

British PM’s visit to India shall open new bilateral ties between the two countries.

The Russia-Ukraine war, flexibility in visa laws on cards.

British PM Boris Johnson’s visit to India began with Gujarat, a state that is home to a large number of Indian diaspora in the UK including the family of UK Home Secretary Priti Patel. Gujarat, the home state of PM Modi, is a major center of economic activity.

The visit comes almost a year after the two countries held the India-UK virtual summit in early May last year where PM Modi and PM Johnson adopted the India-UK Roadmap 2030 to steer cooperation for the next ten years.

British PM Boris Johnson will be accorded a ceremonial welcome at Rashtrapati Bhavan and he will hold bilateral consultations with PM Modi on April 22.

The West may be unhappy that India has not joined its Europe war by taking sides, but it clearly cannot ignore ties with one of the fastest-growing economies either. UK PM Boris Johnson’s visit to India comes amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Johnson indicated on the plane that he was willing to be more accommodating on an issue that could have stalled the talks. While talking to the media, Johnson stated that he always favours talented people coming to the UK, signalling that he’s willing to offer more visas to the Indians. British wishes to capitalize on India’s middle classes’ wealth and their appetite for premium British products, including Scotch whisky, they hope that India will become a customer of their treen technology, and its services trade will be strengthened. His appointment of Priti Patel, a Modi supporter, as home secretary, and elevation of Alok Sharma and Rishi Sunak to senior positions went down well with the Indian diaspora. His aides cited it as evidence of his pro-India tilt.

Indians have been affected by frequent changes to visa rules and intra-company transfers. Indian businesses say visa rules are a deterrence to doing business with Britain. In another discriminatory move, India was excluded from an expanded list of countries that enjoy preferred status for student visas.  Even though PM Boris Johnson faces calls to apologize for a colonial-era massacre when he visits the Indian state of Gujarat, 100 years after as many as 1200 people were killed protesting against imperial rule.

Vinod Nair

V VInod Nair. Film Critic, Writer, Designer, Blogger, photographer Former Visualiser with Indian Express Newspapers Ltd, former Special Info-Graphic Designer with The Times of India. Contributor, film critic The TImes of India. Freelance journalist.

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