India–United Kingdom relations
||This article needs to be updated. (November 2015)|
|High Commissioner Dominic Asquith||High Commissioner Y.K. Sinha|
Indian–British relations are foreign relations between Republic of India and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. India has a high commission in London and two consulates-general in Birmingham and Edinburgh. The United Kingdom has a high commission in New Delhi and five deputy high commissions in Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Kolkata. Both countries are full members of the Commonwealth of Nations. Historically, the UK ruled India for nine decades before Indians gained independence in 1947.
East India Company (1600–1857)Edit
Trade was established between Tudor England and Mughal India in 1600 when Elizabeth I granted the newly formed East India Company a royal charter. After the Mughal Empire's decline in 1707, India was a leading manufacturing country in the world in the early 18th century. It had 22.6 percent share of the world's GDP, by the time British left the country its GDP was near 4%. During 18th century East India Company began to gain greater influence in India. The Battle of Plassey in 1757 led to the conquest of Bengal while by 1857, following various treaties and wars with Indian kingdoms (such as the Anglo-Mysore Wars with Tipu Sultan, the Anglo-Maratha Wars and the Anglo-Sikh wars), the East India Company controlled most of the Indian subcontinent. Following the Indian Mutiny of 1857, where Indian sepoys rebelled against their British officers, the East India Company was dissolved the following year. The assets of the British East India Company became so huge that the British government decided to step in. India served as the main base for the British Empire's expansion across Asia and would remain the empire's most important colony until independence. Queen Victoria became Empress of India in 1858. From a small trading outpost, India became the jewel in the British crown.
British Raj (1858–1947)Edit
In 1858, the British Government assumed direct control of the territories and treaty arrangements of the former East India Company. In 1876, the area, which included modern India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, became "The Indian Empire" (often known historically as the 'British Raj') with British Monarch Queen Victoria proclaimed as "Empress of India" (a title held by her successors until 1947). The British Indian Army was established and assisted Britain in many wars, including the Anglo-Afghan Wars, the Anglo-Gurkha Wars, the Anglo-Burmese Wars, the First and Second Opium Wars, and both World Wars.
End of the British RajEdit
The Indian independence movement gained traction following the Indian Rebellion of 1857. Opposition to British rule increased, both through violent revolutions (as exemplified by Sardar Bhagat Singh and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose) and through nonviolent resistance (as exemplified by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi) eventually led to Indian independence in 1947. Partition of India created new entities out of the erstwhile British Raj : India & Pakistan.
Dominion of India (1947–1950)Edit
Independence came in 1947 with the Partition of India into the union of India, and the Dominion of Pakistan, within the Commonwealth of Nations. King George VI, who as British Monarch had been "Emperor of India", abandoned this title in 1947, and served as India's ceremonial head of state as 'King of India' (in much the same way, he also served as 'King of Pakistan'). In 1950 India became a Republic and the link with the British crown was severed.
The Dominion was part of the Sterling Area (the Republic of India finally leaving in 1966).
Republic of India (since 1950)Edit
India decided to remain in the Commonwealth of Nations after becoming a Republic. Both Britain and India have since pursued quite divergent diplomatic paths.
In particular, India became a major force within the Non-Aligned Movement, which initially sought to avoid taking sides during the Cold War. This contrasted with Britain's position as a founding member of NATO, and key ally of the United States.
Political and diplomatic relations between the two countries have generally been cordial but lacking in depth. Former Indian Prime-Minister I. K. Gujral made a scathing assessment of Britain's relationship with India saying that the UK was a third rate power not worth cultivating.
India is the third largest foreign investor in the UK, and the UK is the largest investor in India within the G20. There are many bilateral trade agreements between the two nations designed to strengthen ties. For example, in 2005, the Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO) was inaugurated in New Delhi aimed at boosting two-way bilateral investments.
The growth of India's multinational companies contributed greatly to UK's business and economy. As of 2014, Indian companies in the UK generated over 19 billion pounds. Also, they have employed more than 100,000 people in the UK. Tata group alone employed over 55,000 people in the UK. This kind of phenomenon, where non-Western countries impact the West, has been commented on by sociologist Anthony Giddens as "reverse colonialism." The British government has chosen India as one of its most influential trade partners because it is one of the "fastest growing economies in the world." In 2013, Cameron formed the biggest trade delegation by accommodating more than 100 representatives that varied from multinational corporations, medium-to-small-sized corporations, and universities to India. Compared to the 2010 trade mission, the UK and India negotiated to double the trade volume by 2015. Following the trade delegation, total UK goods and services exports to India increased by 14% from January to September 2013. Between November 6 and 8, current British PM Theresa May would visit India for a bilateral trip. The key topic of discussions would be May's plan for post-Brexit relations with India. Discussion on a possible free-trade agreement is also in the agenda. According to a MEA(Ministry of External Affairs, India) spokesperson, there is "substantial scope for further strengthening bilateral cooperation across a range of sectors, including science & technology, finance, trade & investment, and defence & security."
Various Indian students have gone to the UK to attain higher levels of education. From 2004 to 2009, the number of Indian students studying in the UK doubled from 10,000 to over 20,000. By 2009, India was one of the top ten countries sending students to study in the UK. Because the number of students grew, the British government and the Indian government agreed to cooperate.
During the 2010 UK-India Summit, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and India came into agreement to support education by implementing the India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI). In this summit, Cameron stated that "Education is an area where India and the UK could pool some of the advantages for mutual benefit." He continued by stating that a higher quality of education would lead to providing opportunities for all, thus encouraging economic growth and overcoming poverty for India. However, after its implementation, the number of Indian students studying in the UK did not increase as expected by both governments. In 2010, the then Home Secretary Theresa May announced a stricter immigration law. This included tighter rules for international students. Students were forced to return to their homeland after earning their degree. Since the immigration law, there has been a rapid decrease of 25% in the number of first year students from India during the year 2012-2013. Theresa May's action has been criticised by people such as historian Edward Acton. Acton stated that this action is "butchering" the Anglo-Indian friendship because it is "treating university students as immigrants." The continuous drop in the number of international students, including Indians, has become controversial. Business leaders such as Sir James Dyson have commented that forcing international students to move back to their homeland can be detrimental to the British economy in the long term. In March 2015, Phillip Hammond stated during an interview with DD News that Theresa May's policy has been cancelled. Starting from 2015, Indian students are able to stay in the UK for six months after their graduation.
Politically, relations between India and the UK occur mostly through the multilateral organisations of which both are members, such as the Commonwealth of Nations, the World Trade Organisation and the Asian Development Bank.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited the UK in 2006.
Since becoming the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Cameron has been actively involved in enhancing the Indian-British relationship on various dimensions, such as "business, energy security, climate change, education, research, security and defense, and international relations." His effort can be seen in his political visits in India on February 18–20, 2013  and on November 14, 2013. Following his visit, other politicians such as Former UK Foreign Secretary William Hague and the then Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne visited India to accomplish a trade mission in July 2014. During their visit, Osborne announced that a statue of Gandhi would be erected in London's Parliament Square to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Gandhi's return to India from South Africa. Upon unveiling the statue on March 14, 2015, Cameron stated that "Our ties with India have remained close throughout history and continue to go from strength to strength – through mutual respect as equals, through cooperation, trade, and of course through the one-and-a-half million Indian diasporas living in Britain today who bring our two nations closer, to the benefit of both." He further commented that the statue will "enrich the firm bond of friendship between the world's oldest democracy and its largest."
In terms of political forces behind economic development, Western powers look to India as a case study contrasting democracy-led growth and state-guided growth, the latter of which has been the modus operandi for China.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the UK from 12–16 November 2015. During the visit, Modi became the first Indian Prime Minister to address the British Parliament. The Times of India reported that agents from Mossad and MI5 were protecting Prime Minister Narendra Modi who was heading to the 2015 G-20 Summit in Antalya, Turkey. The paper reported that the agents had been called in to provide additional cover to Modi's security detail, composed of India's Special Protection Group and secret agents from RAW and IB, in wake of the November 2015 Paris attacks.
Prime Minister Theresa May visited India on 6 November 2016 in her first bilateral visit to a non-European country since becoming Prime Minister. Explaining the decision, May said, "It [the visit] matters now more than ever. India is the fastest-growing major economy." May had previously referred to India as a "key strategic partner" in the aftermath of Britain voting to leave the European Union. She was accompanied by Trade Secretary Liam Fox and a delegation of 33 business leaders aiming to boost trade and investment between the India and the United Kingdom.
BBC World Service Country Rating Poll Data for UK & IndiaEdit
According to a 2014 BBC World Service Poll, 43% of Indians view the United Kingdom's influence positively, 30% neutral and 27% expressing a negative view, while 45% of the British view India's influence positively, 9% neutral and 46% expressing a negative view.
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- British embassy in India
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