Rishi Sunak, the UK’s first prime minister of Indian origin, has highlighted the importance of his cultural background in strengthening the ties between the UK and India. Sunak, who is a patron of the Conservative Friends of India (CF India), has expressed his admiration for India’s achievements and potential, and his desire to deepen the cooperation between the two countries. Sunak’s Indian heritage has also attracted the attention and support of the Indian community in the UK, which is one of the largest and most influential ethnic groups in the country.
CF India and LF India play key roles in fostering partnership
The Conservative Friends of India and the Labour Friends of India are two groups that aim to promote the interests and aspirations of the Indian community in the UK, and to enhance the bilateral relations between the UK and India. Both groups have a large and diverse membership within their respective parties, and have organised events and activities to showcase the cultural, social, and economic contributions of the Indian diaspora. They have also facilitated high-level dialogues and exchanges between the political leaders and stakeholders of both countries, and advocated for closer collaboration on various issues of mutual concern.
Party conferences highlight the significance of Indian identity
The recent party conferences of the Conservatives and the Labour have demonstrated the prominence and influence of the Indian identity in the British political landscape. The CF India event, co-hosted by the UK’s leading business, Pernod Ricard, in collaboration with the Indian High Commission UK, was the largest and most attended reception at the Conservative conference. It featured the presence and speeches of PM Rishi Sunak and other key cabinet ministers, who praised the achievements and values of the Indian community and the UK-India partnership. The LF India event, on the other hand, was graced by the former Union Minister Salman Khurshid, who represented the Indian National Congress and shared his insights on the current and future challenges and opportunities for India and the UK. Both Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, and London Mayor Sadiq Khan have publicly endorsed Rishi Sunak’s South Asian heritage and expressed their support for the UK-India relations.
UK and India share common values and goals
The UK and India share a long and rich history of friendship and cooperation, based on common values and goals. Both countries are committed to upholding democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, as well as tackling global issues such as climate change, terrorism, and health security. Both countries are also keen to expand their trade and investment ties, especially in the post-Brexit and post-pandemic scenarios, and to explore new areas of collaboration in science, technology, education, and culture. The UK and India have also established various platforms and mechanisms to enhance their strategic partnership, such as the UK-India Roadmap 2030, the Enhanced Trade Partnership, and the UK-India Migration and Mobility Partnership.
UK-India relations have a bright future
The UK-India relations have a bright future, as both countries recognise the immense potential and benefits of their partnership. PM Rishi Sunak’s Indian heritage serves as a catalyst and a bridge to further strengthen the bonds between the two nations and their peoples. The CF India and the LF India, as well as other organisations and individuals, play a vital role in promoting and facilitating the UK-India engagement and cooperation. Together, these actors constitute the cornerstone of a relationship that not only benefits the immediate stakeholders, but also offers a paradigm for cooperative diplomacy in the broader geopolitical arena.