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Will Britain's India charm offensive work?

Soutik Biswas | 09:30 UK time, Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Spectator magazine coverCan Britain charm India? wonders Spectator magazine with a cover illustration inspired by the oldest oriental cliché - a snake charmer (David Cameron, in this case, who is making his first visit as prime minister to India) trying to rouse a drowsy and a rather contended looking snake (India). Jo Johnson, former Financial Times Delhi correspondent and now a Conservative MP, writes in the magazine that Britain's relationship with India is outdated. A friend in Delhi says the cover cartoon is a good example: the inability to get over a colonial vision of a land of hippy snake charmers, lumbering elephants, sleepy hill stations and stubborn natives!

The magazine also hints at a confused UK view. On the one hand, it says, Britain's aid agencies tend to see India as an "impoverished aid recipient"; on the other, Mr Cameron and his ministers will be there "begging for India's money". Mr Cameron himself makes no bones about it. "Economic power is shifting - particularly to Asia - so Britain has to work harder than ever before to earn its living in the world. I'm not ashamed to say that's one of the reasons why I'm here in India," he wrote in The Hindu newspaper.

So has India outgrown Britain? Or, as my colleague Sanjoy Majumder wonders, does India really care? Or does the new India, as Mihir Bose suggests in an essay, value its British past but is no longer in awe of it?

Some of the colonial tradition endures - India's civil service (sluggish and in dire need of reform), its army (largely professional, non-sectarian and apolitical) and the English language (once the pan-Indian language of the elite which now everybody aspires to learn as a passport to jobs). Maybe even cricket, which sociologist Ashis Nandy famously described as an "Indian game accidentally discovered by the English".

But many believe that the British - and Indians themselves - have always overestimated the influence of Britain on its former colony. As early as in 1964 British broadcaster and author Malcolm Muggeridge wrote: "As the years pass, British rule in India comes to seem as remote as the battle of Agincourt." David Cameron in India

One reason, many Indian analysts say, is that most of the colonial experience was extremely unsavoury. They point to the tendency of the British rulers to cultivate local elites, empowering some of them and dividing the masses. (Lord Macaulay who spearheaded the founding of India's education system, suggested it set up natives who were "Indian in colour and blood, but English in tastes, in opinions, in morals and in intellect".)

The collaboration with entrenched elites strengthened feudalism in what was already a deeply hierarchical society. Income, urbanisation, education and health care stagnated. Average economic growth in the first half of the century under British rule was 1%. Colonial trade was extractive and exploitative, leaving India poorer. Sunil Khilnani, a leading scholar, says "the cultural reach of British rule was steady as far as it went, but it was never very deep". Even the colonial understanding of this complex nation was suspect, many say. Winston Churchill famously predicted that if the British left India the country "will fall back quite rapidly through the centuries into barbarism and privations of the Middle Ages".

Post-Independence, in Jawaharlal Nehru's "non-aligned" India, Americans were seen by India as the new colonisers. But Indians continued to flock to the US chasing jobs and businesses. In the mid-1980s when the first big rock concert came to India, the Delhi audience sang along to Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street band's sardonic anthem, Born In the USA. "I didn't know you knew the lyrics!" the surprised singer said. Over the decades, as India has found its place in the world economy, the old distrust is gone, and the civilian nuclear deal has brought the two countries closer than ever before. Indians adore Bill Gates. The young love listening to Black Eyed Peas and Green Day and watching Angelina Jolie and Tom Cruise.

It will not be easy for Mr Cameron to retrieve lost ground: America's trade with India is three times that of Britain's, India is not happy with restrictions on non-EU migration and politics - like the Labour Party's insistence on raising the Kashmir issue in the past - can end up souring relations. "I know Britain cannot rely on sentiment and shared history for a place in India's future," Mr Cameron says. Both India and Britain will he hoping that he walks the talk.

Comments

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  • 1. At 3:07pm on 28 Jul 2010, Srikant wrote:

    Britain is a very practical nation right from the beginning. Thus doing business with it is always a pleasure, esp. Now that we are considered allies of USA and Britain.
    We cherish the finest hour of Britain - the Battle of Britain! It is they who saved the day for the world.
    If we were ruled by Germany, Japan, China, we would have faced untold miseries before getting our freedom.
    We can safely do business with our old friends with a common great language on non-controversial matters like - oil excavation, railways, ship building and navy etc...
    However, sensitive issues like military high-tech and atomic energy may be best avoided for the moment. Our deal in Jaguar had not gone well.

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  • 2. At 3:45pm on 28 Jul 2010, Pras_n_Srini wrote:

    The question is quite nonsensical--as India always had a strong trade-relationship with UK (including specifically for defence--Air Force's 1965/1971 mainstays Gnat, Hunter and Canberra; most of Navy's ships then and even some current such as INS Viraat; Centurion and Vijayant tanks--all of British design or manufacture) after Partition! The need to "charm" is entirely a junket of British PM.

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  • 3. At 4:36pm on 28 Jul 2010, SanjaySood wrote:

    In the current World order, all major economies depend on each other. Yes India cares about UK and vice versa.

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  • 4. At 5:07pm on 28 Jul 2010, thethirdeye wrote:

    Whether it works or not, PM Cameron has to give it a try. This is one of those areas where the UK has to compete with the US. There were reasons why Pres Obama invided PM Dr Singh for his first State Dinner. For the same reasons, PM Cameron intends his visit. The EU restraints does hot help UK to be in a better position than the US. On the other hand, despite the unsavoury colonial experience, a significant section of the population (whether or not they are believe in left ideaologies) consider America as the 'new-coloniser' in line with Nehru's NAM - they would rather feel more comfortable doing business with Britain. Mr. Cameron has selected his team well; keeping his eye on evertying from the IAF MRCA tender to IPL. He appears to be a 'pucca' business-person, and I would be interested to see further developments in Indo-British co-operation.

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  • 5. At 5:30pm on 28 Jul 2010, BluesBerry wrote:

    Mr. Cameron is beginning to sound as flighty as his actions seem.
    I listened to his BBC video about "special relationships". I listened to statements that sounded shakey as well as untrue, such as "Britian punches above its weight." No, it doesn't. If Britain has weight its because she drags the weight of US imperialism in nice-neat lock-step.
    He spoke about pride in the troops. In my opinion, such pride must be warranted by the use that Government makes of its troops. Are British troops fighting the right war for the right cause, or is this too just more American lock-step?
    He spoke about the future, talking about the future, but his reference to 1940 as Britain's finest year seems to suggest the stagnation that has occurred in its "special relationship" diplomacy since 1940 - except of course for the United States of America.
    In short, Britain has lost herself inside the American identity, and would appear to have nothing SEPERATE and UNIQUE to offer India or any other country.
    It's about time Mr. Cameron began to find British identity and then stand upon with pride as its PM.

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  • 6. At 6:15pm on 28 Jul 2010, AsianTrader wrote:

    I completely agree with BluesBerry. The UK needs an identity different from the US in this part of the world. Its policies and actions have to be of its own. Perhaps they are, but for people here they do not seem so. As an Indian born much after the Raj had ended, I have very clear feelings for and understanding of China, Japan, America, Germany, Pakistan, Russia... but Britain gets mixed up. For such a great country with a very rich history and connection to India, it does seem a bit surprising.

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  • 7. At 7:44pm on 28 Jul 2010, Pras_n_Srini wrote:

    AsianTrader's claim that "British people....do not seem so different in identity from Americans" is absolute twaddle--that is more true of Canada (where many of the people--particularly of dominant province with nearly 40% of population Ontario--THINK they are closer to Britain culturally, denying the obvious) where I suspect AT is located (and my suspicion is based on actually having lived in Canada as an immigrant from India and later emigrating from there to the US).

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  • 8. At 8:21pm on 28 Jul 2010, chanmett wrote:

    If Britain wants India to assist in its economic recovery they should first return the Kohinoor Diamond and other treasures. They should also work on the Immigration Reform for all and do not hassle the immigrants.
    The British were not like the Spaniards, Dutch, Belgian rulers who not only plundered their colonies,they converted the locals into Christianity. Indians are able to practice their Hinduism even after several years of British Occupation.
    The British gave us Cricket the craze of Indians, so If they are asking for a symbiotic relationship, we have to honor it.

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  • 9. At 10:19pm on 28 Jul 2010, John wrote:

    Few quick facts and random thoughts I think people are missing about history that may affect this "special relationship" ...

    1) The destruction of India's indigeneous industries under the British (which started long before the industrial revolution)
    2) The Amritsar massacre is still viewed in a positive light by British historians like Andrew Roberts
    3) Famines in India, which ended after the British left, much like how they ended in Ireland after the British left
    4) No actual elections until 1950, after the British left
    5) The British were the first and last colonial power to use concentration camps, in South Africa and finally in Kenya against the Mao Mao (in the 1950s)
    6) The British artificially blocked India's development. To quote George Orwell in The English Revolution, "For at least eighty years England has artificially prevented the development of India, partly from fear of trade competition if India industries were too highly developed, partly because backward peoples are more easily governed than civilized ones."
    7) The British slaughtered many civilians during "The Devil's Wind."
    8) And many more....

    Now you will probably go off about India's problems. But at least they're out in the open for everyone to see and discuss. The British pretend their problems don't exist. Their country is stuck in the 19th century, and I don't think there's much that's going to change that.

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  • 10. At 01:45am on 29 Jul 2010, karu708 wrote:

    I agree with "John"'s post above. It looks like Indians are a divided lot the elite that loves/fancies the old colonial oppression of the downtrodden and the young generation that has no clue nor does it care about the old colonial oppression that India had to bear for nearly 3 centuries. We should remember "Those that forget history are condemned to re-live it".
    As for Great Britain is concerned, it is a society stuck in the seemingly romantic past of their monarchy that spread amongst its people a false sense of superiority and "civilized"ness over other regions of the world.
    The Greate Britain of today has the bloody money/treasure of all the peoples that it had oppressed. But that funny little word "karma" that they have adopted into their language is slowly catching up. BeWARE

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  • 11. At 03:52am on 29 Jul 2010, desitipu wrote:

    Karu708 seems have got carried away a bit! The nearly 3 centuries of British colonial oppression was following almost 8 centuries of Islamic aggression, plunder, domination and destruction. The Badshahs, Rajas and Feudal landlords were the only people with any wealth. People were already oppressed not only by the feudal and religious leaders but also by breakdown of law and order.
    What makes Britain 'Great' is that there has always been some decent people who have stood up for the oppressed - even in the colonies. While you may wish to curse them about a lot of bad karma catching up, please do not forget there is a huge pile of good karma by individual dedicated administrators too!
    Also, talking of oppression, you may wish to consider what is causing the Maoist agitation in so many states of India! I have met some very old common people who remembered the 'bad old colonial days (?)' with nostalgia because of Law and Order and lack of rampant corruption!

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  • 12. At 05:23am on 29 Jul 2010, Tom wrote:

    The problem between Great Britain and India is the constant bickering about our past history. I see some poster's above have mentioned Britains colonial past but I ask, why? I was not part of the colonial era and many who were are long gone. We should not allow past mistakes to justify our future policies or we will never manage to escape the cycle.

    India is on course of becoming the next super power and Great Britain should be supportive of our friends, we do share history and culture and although I have never been to India, I do feel some type of connection. I am less wary and suspicious of Indians then I am of others.

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  • 13. At 06:15am on 29 Jul 2010, Rohit wrote:

    "Young Indians love listening to Black Eyed Peas and Green Day and watching Angelina Jolie and Tom Cruise"

    Imagine an Indian singer getting eggs thrown at him if he sang a song-"Born in INDIA" in USA.

    It is clear that USA now rules India (atleast mentally). It is hard to change Indian mindset, as their world revolves around just one country. They cant think beyond of other great and interesting coutries with interesting cultures.

    How come I dont see ordinary young USA kids listening to Indian music?

    Hoe come I dont see US media printing pictures of Indian president/PM on the front page of their newspapers like Indian media? Is Indian media controlled by foreign forces? or is it that they are brainwashed?

    Comon India, stop licking the dry.

    You have already lost REAL friends in latin america, africa and asia to China, for the sake of an iPOD.

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  • 14. At 07:45am on 29 Jul 2010, promodsharma wrote:

    All being considered, lets not forget that both UK & USA are capable of double speak, when it comes to their political agenda. They currently are willing to sell their mother to pacify Pakistan. When in Rome speak what the Romans want to hear. When in India they speak what the Indians want to hear and in Pakistan what the Pakistanis want to hear. They have no established morals. They armed Taliban during the Russian occupation. The Wikileaks are "...something already discussed...& known". What about the WMDs in Iraq, Mr. President/ Mr. Prime Minister, was that also known & intentional. The result ? An entire nation destroyed uncountable killed. The response ? --- A mere Sorry ! by Mr. Bush. ( If he does not qualify for a trial as an international war criminal I dont know who does). Anyway, they have the Moollah. So as long the Moollah continues it traffic towarda Indian markets, Good. But do not trust them.They protect nobody but themselves, They are not worthy of being allies either economically or politically.

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  • 15. At 10:19am on 29 Jul 2010, kan wrote:

    I agree with most of the points made by the previous bloggers, but there are a few left.
    1. Why start India trip in Infy campus?
    ---->Its more to do with setting up shops in London. So, though Britain aid agencies tend to view Indian Govt as poor, but Indian Business houses are cash rich, and they have not undergone the agony of recession as well.

    2. More interest in Britain than in India
    ----> Thats a fact. In India you cannot catch attention with the defence deals, nobody is really bothered. But, BAE and Rolls Royce bother and so are their employees, which is a significant no. Where election of the member of parliaments are decided by the margins of 1000 votes( more of a corporation election in India), this is a significant no.

    3. Recession
    ----> Britain is struggling to get out of recession.


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  • 16. At 1:03pm on 29 Jul 2010, Raja wrote:

    Indian government is too defensive in the diplomatic matters with west, this must change. UK changed its immigration rules 3 times in the last 4months to control the immigration. In order to qualify for the new Tier-1 general the earnings shud be £35000 for the migrants already in UK. An average graduate is earning £20000 - £23000 here in UK after coming out of university when they are on a post-study work visa. how can they get a job earning £35000 in a span of two years in this economy...?? this is literally kicking out the people out of ur country who paid full university fee worth 12 times more than any UK students fee. Wake up india... braindrain is not good for our country. do something...

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  • 17. At 1:35pm on 29 Jul 2010, Nik wrote:

    No it won't work.

    PS: Before doing charm offensives, British have to apologise for the genocide of nearly 20 million Indians in the 19th century that were "sentenced" to death by famine by British who wanted to sell for profit the totality of the meager agricultural production (declining due to bad recolts as well as much of the arable land being used for cultivation of non-staple plants like tea or cloths's colorants...). Have they apologised for it? No? Ok, let them charm their friends, Pakistani, if they wish, they have nothing to do in India. India has nothing to source in Britain and can get far bigger markets elsewhere.

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  • 18. At 2:15pm on 29 Jul 2010, Chris-ExPat wrote:

    '9. At 10:19pm on 28 Jul 2010, John wrote:

    Few quick facts and random thoughts I think people are missing about history that may affect this "special relationship" ...

    ....5) The British were the first and last colonial power to use concentration camps, in South Africa and finally in Kenya against the Mao Mao (in the 1950s)'

    First and last? No.

    Please stick to facts and your point might stand up. Also, try to make a point. Thanks.

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  • 19. At 3:03pm on 29 Jul 2010, John Daw wrote:

    Much has been written in the UK press about how Mr. Cameron's visit is being ignored in India by the Indian press. Of course, the BBC itself isn't exactly giving it a front and center position either. Only the Wall Street Journal in its India section seems to have covered it adequately.

    That said, I think Mr. Cameron is to be congratulated on his vision and his practicality. There is really no ongoing role as America's bag carrier and Sancho Panza anymore. Britain needs to establish its own identity in a new world order and Mr. Cameron planned this way back in 2006.

    There is a lot that India and Britain can do together. India has huge skilled manpower and domestic demand. Britain has enviable research Universities and a lot of R&D. In the past, it has would up gifting it to the US--anyone remember the TSR2 bomber or the Harrier AV8?

    Defence, nuclear power and high technology manufacturing are still some key contributions that Britain can bring to the table.

    All of that is obvious. What is less obvious is how Indo-Anglians will react to Mr. Cameron's initiative. Most have been lifelong Labour supporters. In recent years the latter have become dominated by Mirpuri Pakistanis as shown by David Milliband's posturing.

    So I would suspect that Britons of Indian origin will gravitate toward the Tories with their minds, hearts and money (in that order). And that, will be a huge achievement for Mr. Cameron.

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  • 20. At 3:13pm on 29 Jul 2010, tridiv wrote:

    @1 Srikant wrote: "We cherish the finest hour of Britain - the Battle of Britain! It is they who saved the day for the world.
    If we were ruled by Germany, Japan, China, we would have faced untold miseries before getting our freedom."

    Who do you mean by 'we'? Sound like one of those Englanders still fighting the war, eh! India has to look at the new geo-political reality in the world and promote its interests. That means focus on the US, the EU, China (and ASEAN), Latin America (Brazil) and Africa (emerging market for Indian goods and services, e.g. telecom). I do not see UK figuring in the priority list unless as part of the EU.

    By the way, Mr. Biswas has forgotten to mention one of the colonial legacies, namely the Anglophile Indian press. Its embarrassing really- neither the present generation of Indians nor the rest of the world care about Churchill or Macaulay anymore. Indians want to know how India's interests are taken care of in the world stage by the present leaders.

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  • 21. At 4:19pm on 29 Jul 2010, shampu wrote:

    It is high time for Indians to be praticle and just get on with with business.
    Loose the damn complex that we were at one time ruled by any one.
    I have lived in UK and US most of my life and in my experience they too just want to better their lot,have a very high regard for Indians and show far less superior complex than many in India show inferior one.(not only with Brits but with the west on the whole)
    As is human nature when one is approched with an inferior complex, ther is is a tendency or temptation to show a superior one regardless of race or what have you.

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  • 22. At 6:38pm on 29 Jul 2010, vbr wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 23. At 11:56pm on 29 Jul 2010, tks wrote:

    Tom @12 seems to be in denial, he says
    'I was not part of the colonial era and many who were are long gone. We should not allow past mistakes to justify our future policies or we will never manage to escape the cycle.

    and

    ', we do share history and culture and although I have never been to India, I do feel some type of connection. I am less wary and suspicious of Indians then I am of others.'

    Tom , it seems to me you want to have your cake and eat it, how can you share a history and culture and yet not have any connection to being part of the colonial era? the colonial era is within living memory. And do you not e.g drink tea, or eat spices, use sugar, or wear indigo dyed jeans? have a good standard of living? then you are a beneficiary of Empire.

    Again, as before under British rule, the British want the labour/resources of of another country, in this case India, to bail them out of their mess so the British can carry on living in comfort. If it were a film it would be called ' the East India Company - the sequel' . And it would bomb at the box office.
    & a message to any Indians out side of the UK, the British public have little regard for Indians or Indian culture, and they do not even teach the history of the British Empire in the schools, perhaps they hope we will forget it ever happened............


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  • 24. At 3:38pm on 30 Jul 2010, Alex wrote:

    I completely agree with the commend that Britain should return the Koh-i-noor to Indian. Britain gained it richness by looting and plundering from other countries especially India. Indian politicos must me united in demanding the Koh-I-Noor back and only then to engage with Britain for any matter.
    Britain now needs India, which is reason why its leaders are in India. But India should be carer full of placing full trust because, the experience of colonisation shows that the British could never be trusted. Also they should be told in clear terms that the Indian migrants should not be treated as second class citizens. They discriminate us as Non-EU migrants. The US is far better in this matter.

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  • 25. At 8:50pm on 30 Jul 2010, Tam wrote:

    It is obvious that current generation of British people cannot be held responsible for what their ancestors did. They will not be able to undo all the harm to India from colonization and shouldn't even be required to pay for that.
    However,I think India should cut all its relationships with Britain until they at least acknowledge all the atrocities of colonial past by:
    1) returning all the treasures that have been stolen from India
    2) abandoning all the signs of the criminal regime such as the flag, royal family etc. Could you imagine Germans coming to for example Russia and waiving flags with swastika? How could Britain be allowed to do just that after tenth of millions were starved to death in India during British Raj?

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  • 26. At 9:59pm on 30 Jul 2010, rhodia wrote:

    It is true the sentimental relationship between India and Britain is over with the passing of the generation who grew up under the RAJ , went to England for education and learned the manners, habit of thought and values. New generation is more hung up on America.The next generation will probably shift to China. Hope they are teaching Mandarin in Indian schools.

    Britain can do business with India in the military hardware and clean energy technology. India is short on energy and badly polluted. It can use clean energy technology. India will continue to provide low cost labour to British companies and immigrants.What a paradox-Indians are so proud of India and also want to get out of there.Is there something they know that we don't?

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  • 27. At 02:49am on 31 Jul 2010, Eldridge wrote:

    @ tks, I can see you are obviously very passionate about this subject and rightly so. However you are wrong on some key facts.

    Firstly: The Empire is taught at school but at a later level. I myself have learnt of all the misdeeds of the East India Company and the famines and the mutinies etc. So your argument there is flawed, it is just that it is not a central theme to the history course due to the copious amount of periods that need to be taught.

    Secondly: You refer to the luxuries that we enjoy today. But all the other nations in Europe and in the modernised world enjoy these products. To say that we solely benefited from empire is ridiculous as world trade has obviously played a larger role in the latter half of the 20th century.

    Last but not least: I have the upmost respect for people of asian ancestry. My best friend at primary school was an Indian as is my Doctor. The curry is one of my favourite dishes and my next door neighbours at University are a group of Indian students whom I get on very well with. Some people in Britain talk solely of the 'glory days' of the Empire. They are just as ridiculous as people who focus on the tradegies past. It leaves a bitter taste for both parties who have not lived during the period. Yet ghosts are being dragged out of the closet so to speak and are hindering the future of both Britain and India.

    I for one am in favour of Cameron's move towards better relations with India and hope a strong relationship between both the UK and India for years to come.

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  • 28. At 03:26am on 31 Jul 2010, VicramSingh wrote:

    @26. rhodia wrote:

    Indians are so proud of India and also want to get out of there.

    I do not see whats paradoxical.

    In my case -> Govt of India spends money to educate me -> I leave the country -> work in adopted home, be a good resident, pay taxes, not go on dole, not indulge in criminal activity -> build assets -> invest back home -> provide education and employment.

    I consider that my obligations are not yet over, but at least, I have given back to India a ROI on my education. And for my adopted home, I think, it has been an equitable exchange as well. And I am still proud.

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  • 29. At 11:38am on 31 Jul 2010, Autar Dhesi wrote:

    I think the question is outdated and irrelevant.The people who raise such questions are ignoring the fact that a lot of water has flowed under the London Bridge since 1947.India-British relations have been successfully adjusting with the changing conditions. India of 21st century has more in common with Britain than ever before. It is high time to take the relations to a higher level. This requires understanding of each other's sensitivities and concerns. Neither country can take the other for granted. There is no reason for non-state actors to do or say anything that should create misunderstanding.

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  • 30. At 5:34pm on 31 Jul 2010, BritishAsianMuslim wrote:

    The charm offensive will definitely work. An english toff like Cameron going around begging India for trade concessions will enhance the feeling of superiority most elite Indians have. Just watching an Indian movie you see palatial mansions and Indians who have more in common with your london or new york urbanites, than they do with the slum dwellers and majority of people who can barely eat.

    The charm offensive is all false and both sides are using it as a photo op. If Cameron really wanted to do something for the Indian government He should surrender Britain's permanent security council seat to India, and remove all restrictions on capital and educated labour from india. Which will never happen! India needs to be more angry over its colonial legacy and sue for damages to its indigenous industries and utter humiliation at the hands of the British for the centuries of occupation and racist treatment.

    Funny thing is the British left behind a group of elites who even today think of themselves as better than normal indians, whom they aspire to divide and rule just as the British once did.

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  • 31. At 05:52am on 01 Aug 2010, moderndesi wrote:

    Emotional baggage is the one term that comes to mind reading most responses.
    Why can't India and UK enter into a business relationship without worring to much about the past.
    Do you have to be friends to do Business! hardly, Is India not doing business with China,Saudi etc.
    Its upto India to safe guard her interest [in dealing with US or UK] without talking in terms of friendship, trust, loyalty etc.
    As these are oldfashioned terms in the real world also they reflect our [indian]insecurity and naivety.

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  • 32. At 09:29am on 02 Aug 2010, krishna gujjari wrote:

    The British influence is throughout the country and it is of no use to keep thinking of only the negative past relations but try and improve the relations with UK. The visit of the UK Prime Minister will be definitely helpful. The good relations should not be measured in terms of 'easy immigration' of Indians to UK but the objective should be to have active exchange in political relations, technology, sports and in education. In fact we should be seeking active British cooperation in training our school teachers or introduction of teacher training(pre-primary/primary/middle school)courses and making them available to all the serving and aspiring teachers in the country. Believe it or not, in my opinion, for our development we need this more than the weapons/military equipment from UK.

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  • 33. At 10:42am on 02 Aug 2010, iggy1901 wrote:

    It seems narrow minded to let Britain's colonial past block a potentially lucrative and mutually beneficial relationship. Everyone knows that in the era of European empires Britain was particularly successful. They committed atrocities and exploited nations whilst also trying to export education, infrastructure etc.

    Respecting the past, showing humility where appropriate and apologising where necessary is not the same as living in it. Very few Germans today are responsible for the rise of Adolf Hitler and it would be unreasonable to bear a grudge against the German nation in its current incarnation.

    Provided Mr Cameron seeks a mutually beneficial and respectful relationship, history should not be aloud to block it. On a practical level it seems logical that a common language, cultural understanding and the great number of successful Indians in Britain could provide the basis for a economically fruitful relationship. For India and Britain. Furthermore, those who feel that Britain is just trying to resurrect the Raj should consider the impossibility of this given India's strength today.

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  • 34. At 8:09pm on 02 Aug 2010, welsch wrote:

    Both India & Britain have a great past - we shared that uniqueness while the British ruled the sub-continent. India definitively stood to gain in various fronts, be it our metro cities; our railways ; modern administrative methods; aircraft industries etc.,. Had it not been for British tenacity and not succumbing to an overwhelmingly well equipped German miltary, India may have become a Nazi colony and a fascist state.

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  • 35. At 9:22pm on 02 Aug 2010, Ton wrote:

    i think most Indians are willing to forget the past if Britain indeed come as a partner. Intelligent countries anyway think economics before anything. India is ready to buy gas from burma, what possibly deter it from uks military equipment.

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  • 36. At 08:49am on 03 Aug 2010, Autar Dhesi wrote:

    Should Britain forge closer ties with India? BBC News London

    The relations between countries are based on certain commonalities. The two countries have shared history, common language, culture and institutions of governance. They have shared understandings on many global issues. With rapidly growing Indian economy, there are vast opportunities for Britain to participate beneficially in India's growth story. Both countries have a lot to offer to each other. While Britain needs greater access to the Indian market, India can benefit from former's excellent intellectual capital not only in science and technology but also in many other areas. Britain is considered as a platform by Indian entrepreneurs to go into EU. This should also benefit both the countries.
    I think there is consensus among major political parties to strengthen relations with India. Both the countries together have a lot to contribute to the world community.
    Can Britain charm India?,wonders Spectator magazine.
    I think the questions is outdated and irrelevant The people who raise such questions ignore
    the fact that a lot of water has flowed under the London Bridge since 1947.India-British relations have been successfully adjusting with the changing conditions. India of 21st century has more in common with Britain than ever before. It is high time to take the relations to a higher level. This requires understanding of each other's sensitivities and concerns. Neither country can take the other for granted. There is no reason for non-state actors to do or say anything that should create unnecessary misunderstanding.
    Prime Minister David Cameron’s pragmatic,direct approach, takimg cognizance of ground realities has been successful in deepening relations between the two countries. The sceptics with time-frozen mode of thinking need to understand that the post-War generations in the both the countries have largely shed past hangovers. With their outdated world view, the oldtimers would find themselves increasingly irrelevant unless they make the needed adjustments in their thinking.
    As it is,the two countries stand mutually charmed.

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  • 37. At 4:17pm on 03 Aug 2010, Tam wrote:

    "Very few Germans today are responsible for the rise of Adolf Hitler and it would be unreasonable to bear a grudge against the German nation in its current incarnation"

    Yes, but flags with swastika are not only abandoned in Germany they are prohibited. The remaining relatives of Hitler have changed their names and do not go public. On the other hand, the British imperial flag which symbolizes murder of millions of people and destruction of the ancient civilization is still openly in use. Royal family uses facilities and palaces built on the proceeds from the drugs trade and ruthless exploitation of India. British Museums routinely exhibit treasures stolen from many countries. Asian countries should support each other to stand up against this! China, in particular, suffered a lot from the British empire and should align its approach to India on this issue.

    I am not against cooperation with Britain but there should be some minimal moral ground in such a relationship and British people should also understand that. Having a common view on the history will strengthen cooperation and trust.

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  • 38. At 7:10pm on 03 Aug 2010, Gangama wrote:

    I don't want strong relations between India and UK.Uk must first apologize to all its former colonies.

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  • 39. At 7:15pm on 03 Aug 2010, Shilpy wrote:

    Here is some real political insight for PM Cameron:
    Mr. Cameron may be fretting over nothing, really. India is still a land of bakshish, big and small, a land as corrupt as a country can ever be. The fact is india is now more ripe for plucking than the East India company found it in its hey day. The super corrupt gandhis and their mean minded yes-men in congress party still rule India - which seems longer and more shameful than the colonial british misrule: the old brits never had pretensions to what passes for "(mahatma) Gandhism", unlike the brutes in India's Congress party's claim to the late Mahatma. Look at this way: if congress party of gandhis can import train loads of their muslim would be voters from pakistan on a daily basis, via what is called the Samjauta Express, what reason does Mr. cameron have in almost brandhshing pakistan as terrorist country? India is fine with muslims as long as they vote for Congress party, and keep the Gandhis in power. Calling Muslims as terrorists is counterproductive in Sonia's Congressi India. Now should Mr. Cameron make waves by cozying upto the peaceful Hindus, as most Brits are routinely size up India from their experience with Hindu Indians, that would about the only fatal political mistake he can make vis-a-vis India. So, to advise Mr. Cameron again: If you want to build political capital in India, bash Hindus and Hindusim, and don't call muslims bad names, for they are the single largest political base for the divide-n-rule gandhis, the new colonialists in post "independent" India.

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  • 40. At 7:19pm on 03 Aug 2010, Shilpy wrote:

    India's Prime Minister Man mohan Singh once declared in a policy statement: THe Muslims have the first right to India's national resources". Does Mr. Cameron know about this when he speaks of Pakistan in unflattering terms that is likely to upset the voters of India's ruling COngress party?

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  • 41. At 2:38pm on 04 Aug 2010, Vikram Rao wrote:

    This is all bull crap, nothing against England, but they really do not have much to offer us in terms of anything. They are not Politically or economically powerful, nor are they leaders of their domain. They need to ask America for permission before they take a leak. History is history, I do not hate Britain for its colonial past, I believe Britain to be a fair and equal country, I've enjoyed its hospitality every time I have visited, but the truth is, neither of us need each other as much as either say. Im all for better relations and hope Cameron is successful at whatever he set out to do.

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  • 42. At 00:01am on 05 Aug 2010, ashni behal wrote:

    why are we even having this stupid discussion.india does not need britain.why are indians still obsessed with the the uk immigration laws--MOST indians care a two hoot for the uk(and the us now) and dont want to move here.wake up--the future belongs to asia especiallly india and china(unless the idiots nuke each other!!!) bye bye britain--i lived there for a number of ears and would NEVER think of going back---i am in my sixties and will never forget the blatant racism in the uk.i think india should tell the whole western world to shove it

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  • 43. At 05:59am on 05 Aug 2010, promodsharma wrote:

    The natives of Britain certainly overestimate their influence on India, by their own admission they are contend with being the 'Hand Maiden' of USA. Whatever influence they think they had has passed away with generation born before 1925. The new generation in India looks at the world in a more object & rational manner. After all the British did not come here on a Good will mission. They came to plunder, loot & kill. & were no better than Chengez Khan / Hitler etc. ( All had the same objective : Plunder & Kill).

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  • 44. At 09:31am on 05 Aug 2010, bbcmani wrote:

    Its all about doing business with India. That's what it was before and still is now... "Business". British PM is just licking his way into India to be its best chumps just for "Business"

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  • 45. At 01:33am on 06 Aug 2010, Arunabh Das wrote:

    If David Cameron recognizes the importance of India in the global economy, then it must ask his overlord, Barack Obama to give India a permanent seat on the UN security council. That is the only way he can regain the trust of the subcontinent especially since the policy of appeasement towards India's enemies has created significant trust issues between India and the west. - Arunabh Das

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  • 46. At 03:30am on 06 Aug 2010, doctorveritas wrote:

    Thanks for the language, gov. Beyond that, we do remember the saying...fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. Do not mistake our groveling politicians and bureaucrats for real Indians. We love our country and are fiercely nationalistic. "Never Again" may be Israel's state credo but we believe in it just as ardently. Allowing a handful of foreigners to rule India while it was bled dry is not something we will tolerate again...

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  • 47. At 08:48am on 08 Aug 2010, JAYNIMMS wrote:

    NICE DISCUSSION BUT ALL ABOUT PAST AND FUTURE BEING MIXED AND MATCHED.INDIA IS GROWING AND SHOULD IT HELP BRITISH?.HISTORY SHOWS MANY COUNTRIES HAD COLONIES SO DID BRITAIN.INDIA WAS LOOTED BY MANY SO WHY SO MUCH ATROCITY AGAINST THEM.ALL THE BEST BRIDGES ENGINEERING ASSETS STILL ARE THE OLD BRITISH MADE.WHY AFTER ALMOST 60 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE INDIANS WHO HAVE MORE MONEY NOW GET OUT OF CORRUPTION TO BUILD A GOOD BRIDGE WITHOUT MIXING CEMENT( I MEANT SELLING THE PROPOSED CEMENT IN BLACK MARKET)WHY STILL A POOR LABOURERS CHILD CANT HAVE SCHOOLING WE HAVE MONEY WHY NOT.ATTITUDE IGNORANCE.IS THE OVERWHELMING GROWTH OR QUALITY EMPOWERMENT IMPORTANT.IS INDIA FOR THE RICH OR MIDDLECLASS.WHERE DOES OUR POOR STAND.DONT THEY HAVE DREAMS ATLEAST TO HAVE THEIR CHILDREN EDUCATED.WHERE DOES THE BRITISH AID TO CHILDREN GO TO POLITICAL POCKETS.WHY WE ARE SO SELF OBSESSED.ISNT THE WORLD GLOBAL NOW.BRITAN HAS BEEN A GOOD COUNTRY TO SAY BRITAN WAS BORN TO A GOOD FATHER.CAMERON PEOPLE CRITIZISING HIM TOO MUCH JUST BECAUSE HES TORY.HES A NICE GUY WHO WANTS TO DO SOMETHING HE IS HELPING UK COME BACK.PEOPLE STILL DO NOT BELIEVE HIM DUE TO MARGARET THATCHER.HES CUTTING BUDGETS PEOPLE ARE SO UPSET THEY SAY HERE THE TORIES GO AGAIN.BUT TO BE REALISTIC THERES NO OTHER WAY FOR UK.IF U DONT GRIND NOW ITS GOING TO BE CATASTROPHE.HES NOT A TRADITIONAL TORI HES DIFFERENT A PERSON WITH VISION AND CLASS.ALSO CHECK THE BRITISH BEFORE TALKING BAD ABOUT THEM.THEY HAVE LET ALL THE PEOPLE FROM COMMON WEALTH COME IN GAVE THEM RESPECT AND HONOUR SUPPORTED THEM.WILL WE DO IT IN INDIA.WE WILL IF WHITES COME IN.IF BLACKS COME IN INDIA WILL WE TREAT THEM WITH RESPECT I DO NOT THINK SO.SO ACTUALLY WHO IS BETTER.PEOPLE COMPLAIN ABOUT NOT GETTING MANAGERIAL JOBS EVEN THOUGH HIGH EDUCATED ONLY GIVEN TO BRITISH WHITES.I WOULD SAY INDIAN STUDENTS ARE GIVING 300 POUNDS BRIBE TO GET A WAITORS JOB AND 700 TO GET A CARE HOME JOB IN LONDON WHY ASIAN MANAGERS RULE THE ROOST .SO ONE MORE POINT WHERE INDIAN COMES IN HE BRINGS CORRUPTION SO I RATHER PREFER A WHITE MANAGER WHOS LESS BAIZED AND MORE CLEAR AND PROFESSIONAL IN HIS JOB.THERE IS CORRUPTION IN UK BUT THE GOVT HAS NOT LET IT SPREAD TO THE GRASS ROOT.WHERE WAS INDIA BEFORE BRITAIN SMALL STATES FIGHTING AGAINST EACH OTHER.ATLEAST THEY MADE IT INDIA WHICH WE PROUDLY ASSOCIATE WITH.THERE SHOULD BE SOME GRATITUDE.ARE WE ONE YES ON THE FINAL STAGE.BUT DONT WE SAY PUNJABI-PUNJABI GUJARATHI-GUJARATHI.NORTH INDIAN-SOUTH INDIAN DONT WE DISCRIMINATE EACH OTHER EVEN NOW.YES UNFORTUNATELY WE DO.WHEN WILL A SOUND TOTALLY INDIAN NOT PUNJABI GUJARATHI SOUND.I DO NOT SEE THAT NEAR BY.SO WE ARE A COUNTRY OF GREAT HISTORY TALENT HARDWORKING FAMILY ORIENTED EMOTIONAL(GOOD SENSE) PEOPLE WHO CARE OR THE WORLD.WE ARE COMING UP DUE TO OUR GOOD SKILLS PERSEVERING NATURE ITS A HUGELY POPULATED COUNTRY VERY DIVERSE SO TO CONTROL CORRUPTION IS NOT EASY.BRITAN IS GREAT COUNTRY ITS GIVEN US A LOT UNLIKE OUR POLITICIANS I AM NOT SAYING BRITISH RULE WAS BETTER.OLD TIMES WERE DIFFERENT YOU CANNOT JUDGE BRITAN BY HISTORY.NOW THEY GIVE RESPECT AND OPTIONS FOR US GOD SAYS IN OUR CULTURE YOU DO NOT LET YOUR GUEST GO EMPTY HANDED WHEN HE GOES BACK HOME.LETS GIVE MR CAMERON A BIG HUG AND HELP EACH OTHER.US THOUGHTS MAY RULE OUR YOUTH BUT UK IS VERY IMPORTANT FR US AFTER ALL CURRY IS THE FAVOURITE DISH IN UK.SORRY IF HAVE OFFENDED SOME BY MY REMARKS.ITS JUST MY OPINION

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  • 48. At 11:51am on 10 Aug 2010, Sami wrote:

    UK is making no charity by employing tier1/ ICT workers. With NON-EU migration, both employers (in UK) and Non EU migrants are benefited.

    Many individuals have expressed concerns about Non- EU immigration. IF an individual is skilled, hardworking and flexible- why should an UK employer hire NON-EU or EU individuals?
    Simply complaining that Non- EU is taking away jobs is thoughtless. No one is taking away anything / no employers are making charity- Only if the employers find the right aptitude and skills will they hire EU, non- EU / indigenous individuals.

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  • 49. At 7:17pm on 11 Aug 2010, ARMANI PASHTUN wrote:

    I would welcome Mr Cameron visit to Afghanistan and all prominent people.
    It shows a positive rule betweeen 2 countries, also good stereo type in public.

    I think india and people of india are lucky to have very close tie with european countries.

    Also economically shipment to india looks very good step for india .

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