Groundbreaking Visit to India Confirms Britain’s Branding as Global Nation
Last month the UK put considerable distance between itself and the EU, through PM David Cameron’s speech promising a referendum in exchange for a second term. Now, we are witnessing a much welcome tightening of Britain’s global relations, chiefly with India.
As this Evening Standard column puts it, London’s prosperity would be impossible without a steady flow of migrants from all corners of the world. The Financial Times backs up the same claims in the video reportage below:
Britain has been a global nation either by collaboration or force for a few centuries now, and being inhabited by people of all nationalities made London the kind of worldwide business node it strives to remain. The Conservative ethos is free enterprise, and in this perspective the politician’s primary function becomes to create an optimal environment for trade and entrepreneurship. Last week’s PR trip to the world’s biggest democracy saw Mr Cameron going Sikh in a bid to attract Indian money to Britain.
Ever the diplomat, the Prime Minister promised a ‘fast-tracking’ of certain categories of UK visas for Indian citizens, although it’s quite possible the only ones to benefit from this will be the privileged wealthy.
India is currently investing huge sums of public money into infrastructure, and Cameron would like UK companies to get some of those contracts. The delegation was the biggest ever of its type and included representatives from more than 100 companies keen to do business in and with India. Because of somewhat restrictive regulation on foreign direct investment (FDI), especially in retail, it would be difficult for British companies struggling with the triple-dip recession and market saturation at home to penetrate the Indian market directly. But with resilient lobbying and strategic partnerships, it’s nevertheless an achievable goal.
Besides mammoths like Unilever, Tesco and BAE Systems, some smaller players also tagged along, taking advantage of the high-levels of power and influence of the attendees. Daniel Ishag, chief executive of Bluewater Co. a water treatment company, explains to the Telegraph: “In high-growth areas like India, businesses have to take the initiative. You’re in the country, go and get the meeting, grab the opportunity while you’ve got the endorsement of the UK Government.” His firm is already established in the Indian market through a local partner, but the meeting enabled them to become more visible: “People will take what you say at face value if they’re meeting you in that context, because the assumption is that you’ve been vetted and checked out if you’ve been invited on such a trip,” he adds.
There’s also another side to the visit: despite Britain putting on the role model hat, India is the world’s biggest arms importer and a vital client for British arms manufacturers, some of whom are having trouble with the law. Therefore, Cameron’s trip was also a show of support for a military helicopter contract valued at £500m which Indian leaders warned they’re thinking about cancelling due to allegations of corruption. The Indian PM was reassured that he needn’t worry about malfeasance, since the UK has one of the most advanced legal systems in the world. In a tentatively apologetic tone, Cameron also acknowledged the 1919 Amritsar massacre as ‘deeply shameful’.
In conclusion, the special relationship going on between the two world-class economies rumbles on with added gusto after this historical conference. While the UK reaffirmed its globalist ambitions, India underscored its spending power and the growing importance of its available liquid capital. Everybody walked away smiling, and, of course, a little happier than before.
Here and Now 365 has always prided itself for promoting multiculturalism and celebrating the ethnic diversity of the UK.