Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Better with us than on the fence

India has to learn to exploit its relations with UK in a better way

Recently, on July 28, 2010, British PM David Cameron met Karnataka Governor HR Bhardwaj to sign an MoU, which will allow the British business process outsourcing (BPO) firm Xchanging Plc to set up a 2,000-seat processing centre at Shimoga SEZ. He also visited Infosys and HAL.

The Indian PM organised a joint conference with the British PM emphasising joint initiatives in some key areas including a promise of a joint CEO summit and a further boost in defence trade and foreign investment. But the manner in which David Cameron’s entire visit passed us by, it just seemed like a visit of another infamous head of an averagely influential nation. Congress Chairperson Sonia Gandhi’s cancellation of her meeting due to her mother’s health further dampened the visit’s prospects. It must be realised that Britain has much more promise than can be envisioned. UK is one of India’s largest trading partners with a bilateral trade worth £11.5 billion in 2009. India seeks to increase it to £24 billion in next five years. India’s exports to UK touched £6.8 bn in 2009 while imports were £4.7 bn, a clear surplus advantage. David Cameron is more promising and positive about India than Obama. Cameron’s approach towards Pakistan takes no prisoners and cuts no cake cherries. His statement on Pakistan, after the WikiLeaks incident (“We cannot tolerate in any sense the idea that this country [Pakistan] is allowed to look both ways and is able, in any way, to promote the export of terror, whether to India or to Afghanistan or anywhere else in the world”) is the best evidence that UK would stand as honest friends for much longer than the infidel master US.