• Thursday, July 25, 2024

Diaspora

British Indian body wants new UK government to reshape India ties

The Platform for Indian Democracy called on new British members of Parliament to prioritise democracy and human rights in the UK’s foreign policy towards India and uphold democratic values in UK-India relations.

India and UK flags (iStock)

By: Shubham Ghosh

AS the UK general election campaign enters its final phase on Tuesday (2), a British Indian community group has called on the newly elected government to reshape its foreign policy priorities towards India.

The Platform for Indian Democracy called on new British members of Parliament to prioritise democracy and human rights in the UK’s foreign policy towards India and uphold democratic values in UK-India relations.

“The UK government has a unique opportunity to reshape its foreign policy with India, aligning it with the values that British Indians hold dear,” said Raul Lai, coordinator of Platform for Indian Democracy.

Read: Politics, not race, will decide Sunak’s fate in July 4 battle

“By advocating for human rights, democratic principles, and ethical diplomacy, the UK can strengthen its relationship with India while upholding the ideals that both nations strive to achieve,” he said.

As the largest ethnic minority group in the UK, British Indians wield significant influence in constituencies around the country.

The Platform for Indian Democracy claims the electoral influence of the British Indian community was evident in last year’s Uxbridge by-election, where their decisive role secured a narrow win for the Conservatives.

Read: UK polls 2024: India FTA on both Tory, Labour manifesto agendas

This emphasises the importance for political parties to acknowledge the community’s perspectives on how the UK should engage with India, their ancestral home, the group said.

Alongside their impact in the UK, British Indians maintain a strong relationship with India, with a recent survey finding that well over half (58 per cent) read news about India at least weekly and were closely watching the Indian general election results out last month.

“A survey conducted by the Platform for Indian Democracy in late 2023 revealed 90 per cent of respondents in the UK believe human rights should be a condition for industrial and commercial investments in India,” notes the Platform for Democracy, created recently to provide a space where progressive voices within the British Indian community can be amplified.

The Indian diaspora population in the UK is estimated at around 1.8 million and while traditionally an electorate seen inclined towards voting Labour, the electorate has shown a much more diverse voting pattern in recent elections.

With Rishi Sunak leading the Conservatives as the country’s first British Indian Prime Minister, how these diaspora voters will be influenced to vote on Thursday remains to be seen.

(PTI)

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