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Thread: Britain and India - A new special relationship

  1. #1 Britain and India - A new special relationship 
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    Should Britain push for a special relationship with India?

    David Cameron has taken the biggest ever trade delegation to India to push for a special relationship for Britain and India. He has pledged to offer any Indian students the opportunity to come to the UK and get an education at some of the best universities in the world. It seems that the British PM see's India's long term potential as a global leader and feels Britian has much to offer the world's largest democracy in terms of development, technology, trade and infrastructure.
    Given the rise of Asia and the relative decline of the west it might seem inevitable that western countries are clambering to improve their relations with India, and Mr Cameron's move comes in the wake of last week's French attempts at courting this emerging global power.

    Should Britain actually decide to withdraw from the European Union it could very well decide to persue closer trading relations with non-european countries and in this endeavour existing commonwealth countries might prove a good place to start.


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    An ideal country would be friendly with everyone. But nothing is ideal, so let's go off of reality. Improved relations with India would not be a huge payoff in the short term. Short term, India might get some 'special privileges' from being friends with a powerful nation such as Britain, and Britain may see some trade increases, but overall no benefits. That being said, there's also no direct negatives (let's assume Pakistan and India don't go nuclear, shall we?).

    Long term, there's a couple of scenario's that play through.

    Worst Case: EU fails horribly. Greece and other nations drag the value of the euro down so far it rivals the Weimar Republic of post WWI Germany (I may exaggerate the details a bit). While Europe desperately tries to claw its way out, Britain looks foreign to bring markets up. Strengthened ties with India in the past make it a prime place to restart the economy and rebirth the British Empire. In this scenario, spotlights are placed on India as a new world leader, and Britain saves itself from economic disaster.

    Best Case: Greece gets its act together. EU is saved, and Britain never needs to fall back on India. India continues its momentum forward and still emerges as a world superpower. In this situation, result doesn't change. Thus, cozying up with India is not a bad idea for britain.

    All things considered, there are better candidates than India that Britain could choose from. Brazil looks promising, as does many South American countries. Japan could be reliable in the future, and South Africa would be your best bet on the African continent. Basically, stay out of the Middle East and Central/Northern Africa, and you'll find a rising country.


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    A direct bilateral agreement is safer than Commonwealth, because Britain isn't held responsible for sibling spats. Remember that after the Komagata Maru incident, when Indians were denied entry to Canada, those men went on to agitate for Indian independence. The incident itself, in worldwide headlines, made plain Indians weren't enjoying Commonwealth freedoms promised on paper. I'm ashamed to report, from inside experience, that Canada's apparently open immigration policy is and always has been tacitly loaded with discrimination.

    Racism should be acknowledged and dealt with bilaterally, not multilaterally. So, yeah, when Cameron speaks of student visas he should frankly say "Indians" when he means Indians. And write that on paper. Otherwise, it's left to winks and nods among the bureaucrats.
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    Given the rise of Asia and the relative decline of the west it might seem inevitable that western countries are clambering to improve their relations with India,
    Why? Western standards of living are still at the top and there's really no indication that they'll be passed for many decades. The trends seem to be all nations are rising to similar high levels for quality of life.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Given the rise of Asia and the relative decline of the west it might seem inevitable that western countries are clambering to improve their relations with India,
    Why? Western standards of living are still at the top and there's really no indication that they'll be passed for many decades. The trends seem to be all nations are rising to similar high levels for quality of life.
    I agree with you about the living standards, but we have to think about how the world is changing. Look at what has happened in Europe, the growth rate of America compared to China or the growing markets places like India and this new demand for everything here in the west we take for granted. What we can see is a fast moving world in which the unprepared and uncompetitive can get swept away in it's wake. This new changing reality means that countries such as Britain and France, technology advanced, rich and well developed but also declining in importance upon the world stage are looking for new ways to generate trade and income. The European powers of old that dominated the world for centuries and less relevant in this time of growing equality for emerging nations and as such are trying harder than ever to find new ways to compete and the latest ploy seems to forming strong alliances.

    The European Union helps to give its members influence because of its close links and ability to utilise the collective strength of all its member states, however it is far from perfect and can even be said to be a little restrictive for some of its members. Also not all of its members are happy with the rules it has, or more importantly it is planning for to be , imposed across the whole EU. Now add some of these divsions to the current dire financial state and problems with the Euro as a currency and it becomes easier to see why some members might actually be considering their position with in the EU, even despite the numerous list of other countries desperate to join.

    With the UK's position within the EU becoming increasingly more unpopular with the electorate and the promise of a referendum on the issue by the Prime Minister, it would seem that it may well become a realistic possibility for Britain to actually withdraw from EU altogether. So it would certainly seem a sensible move by the government to start forward planning and prepare for such an eventuality, by looking to strengthen trading relationships outside the EU.

    Considering Britains historical and present day links, Britain still gives financial aid to India, with India it doesn't really seem a strange choice of country to begin to improve relations with, but one of the important considerations seems to be that the cultural exchange works well, with Indians able to easily intograte within british society making closer cooperation between companies from both countries much easier. Also that Britain seems to have much to offer India in things such as infrastructure development, at present India is still very dependant on a colonial era british built transport network. So the possibilities for the two countries working together certainly seem like they may be both feasible and very beneficial to both, with Britain wanting to gain a stonger foothold within India's financial services sector and greater access to their consumers.

    But also if we just consider how such a new stronger partnership with Britain will help India then we might also conclude that as part of our colonial legacy then these benefits alone might well justify such an endeavour morally at least that is from the british perspective. It may also lead to closer cooperation and better relations with other commonwealth countries.

    As a brit there is a sense of pride in the idea of the Victorians reshaping the modern world, but also the sense of guilt that it is wrong to subjugate other countries, so with this in mind the idea of doing things that are indeed positive for commonwealth or former empire countries does seem to sit well and just seems like a step in the right direction, I kind of also like the idea of showing the commonwealth that they are appreciated and valued and if improving trading relationships and helping to develop said countries can be achieved in a mutally beneficial way then great.
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