New Delhi, November 7: The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom has decided to make her first foreign visit outside of te European Union. Though there may be an initial surprise on the fact that she has chosen India, reasons for this move become quickly apparent. Theresa May arrived in New Delhi on Sunday and will stay for a three-day duration to re-invigorate the ties between the two countries. the importance that May places on the UK-India bilateral ties is evident by the fact that she will be present in the country when all other heads of states will be busy preparing a congratulatory message to the winner of Britain’s closest ally, the United State’s Presidential elections.Also Read - 16 Houses Gutted, Over 150 People Rendered Homeless in Fire in Himachal’s Malana Village
During her visit, Theresa May and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the India-UK Tech Summit in New Delhi, jointly hosted by the Confederation of Indian Industry and the Department of Science and Technology. Theresa May is also set to raise the issue of a free trade agreement with India. according to earlier remarks of officials from the Ministry of External Affairs, India is waiting for the Brexit to actually happen before signing a Free Trade Agreement(FTA). Also Read - T20 World Cup 2021 Points Table After Pakistan vs New Zealand Match; How does a Pakistan Win Benefit India? Explained
So why exactly has Theresa May decided to pay a visit to the jewel in the crown of the once “Great” British empire at such a crucial time? Well for one, The United Kingdom plans on starting negotiations for leaving the European Union by March 2017. The actual Brexit is expected to conclude by early 2019. However, as the country loses a single market access to the European Union, a fast substitute is an urgency to maintain the UK’s role as a global leader. It is in this context that Theresa May has often mentioned India among the priority countries for a free trade agreement . Also Read - Breaking News Highlights: PM Modi An Incarnation of Almighty, Says UP Minister Upendra Tiwari
Expressing her opinion on the same, Theresa May spoke at the Conservative Party conference last month and said, “Countries including Canada, China, India, Mexico, Singapore, and South Korea have already told us they would welcome talks on future free trade agreements. And we have already agreed to start scoping discussions on trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand.”
In fact, as she left for India, in an article for ‘The Telegraph’, Theresa May said she plans to promote the best of Britain during her three-day trade mission to New Delhi and Bengaluru. May wrote, “One of our most important and closest friends has to be India – a leading power in the world, with whom we share so much history, culture and so may values, and which is led by a Prime Minister who is undertaking a far-reaching programme of reform. In other words, we are two countries with strong ties, a mature relationship and an opportunity to make that even deeper.”
She then continued, “That is why, today I will be travelling to India for my first bilateral visit outside Europe and first trade mission as Prime Minister, accompanied by a range of top British businesses, including some of our brightest small and medium enterprises.We will be promoting the best of Britain, sending out the message that we are open for business, and making the most of the opportunities offered by Brexit as the world’s foremost champion of free trade.”
In her Diwali message, she said that “in Britain’s Indian communities, we can see the good that can be done when people’s talents are unleashed. I think of all those running their own businesses, taking risks and working hard so that they can provide for their families and take on staff.” However, it is matters of India’s concern that May’s stance remains unclear.
The two major issues that India is expected to present during Theresa May’s three-day visit include the Kashmir issue with Pakistan and an increase in the number of visas issued to Indian citizens travelling to the UK. However, May is known to be tough on immigration. The British Prime Minister’s aides have already indicated that she has no inclination to backtrack on a tightening of immigration rules for students put in place last year. Her stance on Kashmir has already been geared towards being guarded. Maybe, if the United Kingdom wanted t
Maybe, if the United Kingdom wanted to reap the benefits of the economic prosperity slowly re-emerging in India, it must show a sincerity in helping India clean up the mess it created the first time round. After all, as the years have shown, the jewel can always remain independent of the crown but it seems the British crown has lost its sheen.