India- UK being world’s largest and world’s oldest democracies are best example for multiculturalism and tolerance. As said by UK PM during his visit to India in 2010 ‘ India is valued by world not only because it is rising power but it is a responsible global power’. Though relationship between both countries started in 14th century in means of trade, now it extends beyond trade links with deep and close people to people ties and well developed understanding. India being a parliamentary democracy has its close lineage with UK also has periodical Interparlimentary contacts.
India –UK political relationship
• Since strategic partnership in 2004, political links are nutured through PM level visits, annual summits and regular meetings with foreign minister.UK is significant speaker for India in G20,G8,EU and global context.
• Both countries expressed interest to initiate negotiations on civil nuclear cooperation and cooperate in cyber security.
• To cooperate in counter terrorism policy and structures India-UK joint working group is conducted periodically.
• UK endorsed India’s, bid to permanent membership in UNSC, enhanced role in International bodies and early membership in International export control regimes to counter the global challenges.
India –UK economic cooperation
• India-UK Economic & Financial Dialogue (EFD) and India-UK Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO), are the formal forum for bolstering economic ties which meet annually to discuss on crucial matters of economy.
• Both sides put in motion UK-India Financial Partnership to enhance ties between the Financial Services industries.
• UK is among primary trading partner of India, which contributes significantly in trade in goods and services. In EU, UK is largest market for Indian IT services.
• Both countries decided to cooperate on promoting Bangalore-Mumbai Economic Corridor(BMEC) project.
• With respect to investment, India is 3rd largest investor in UK, Indian MNC’s have provided employment to significant number of UK nationals and contributed significantly to UK economy which is commented by sociologist as ‘reverse colonialism’. Similarly after Mauritius and Singapore, UK is 3rd largest investor in India; amidst G20 UK is largest investor in India. In this context UK begun new VIP visa system to enhance international business condusive and also conducts same day visa service in India.
• According to ‘UK-India skill pledge’ UK companies assured skill development support to India.
• To bolster tourism and trade links both countries signed sister airport agreement between IGI-Birmingham airport(UK).
India-UK cultural relationship
• To collaborate on higher education UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI) was set up in 2005. In 2014 'Newton-Bhabha Fund' was announced to boost scientific research and innovation.
• To establish links between premier education institutes in India and UK, India-UK Education Forum was set up in 2008.
• Indian students are second largest student community in UK. As of 2014 number of Indian students in UK is 19750, according to Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) the number declined due to condition laid by UK government that a foreign student with graduate level job with £20,000 pounds salary from accredited. Due to wide spread criticism and drop in students number in 2015 above said policy was cancelled and students are permitted to stay for 6 years after graduation.
• Nehru Centre coordinates various activities and events to bolster cultural links between two countries which is the forum for cultural development of The High Commission of India in UK. In addition to this to cooperate in museology and Earth Sciences a MoU has been signed.
• 2011 census reports that Indians constitute1.8% of total population in UK and contribute 6% of UK GDP. In this way Indians are one of the largest ethnic minorities in the country. In 2014 Regional Pravasiya Bharatiya Diwas (RPPBD) was organised in London. Also many PIO’s are in white collared profession,MP, Lords,councillors in Britain.
• On the lines of UK model ‘National career service portal’ was launched in India to emphasis skill development and avail more employment opportunities.
Outcome of recent visit
• Vision statement on bilateral relations was released. UK PM welcomed successful combination of Team India and Team UK.
• PM Modi announced direct AI flight connecting London and Ahmedabad.
• Statue of Lord Basaveshwara who worked for gender equality and democratic values in 12th century was unveiled by PM Modi.
• To help NRI’s PM Modi created Indian community welfare fund and 'Madad' online platform to sort out visa and OCI related issues and also assured to simplify overseas citizenship of India and PIO merger scheme
• 3 outcome documents on energy and climate change, defence and security, development partnership was announced. Both sides collaborated to set up fast track forums for investment and also agreed to float rupee denominated bond from London
• Both countries two sides successfully terminated deliberations Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement signed in 2010 and paved way for further cooperation. UK to aid India to set up new Indian cyber crime unit.
• UK expressed interest to aid India to developing 3 smart cities Amaravati, Indore and Pune
• India can leverage British expertise in education, healh, science and technology, policing, intelligence and infrastructure.
India-UK have shared values of Rule of Law, democracy and human rights.UK being harbinger of 53 member countries grouping called common wealth nations and India being one of the important Asian country in common wealth nations, both shoulder significant responsibility in climate change talks, fight against terrorism and corruption, and reform global institutions.
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