FIRST ENGLAND PM OF INDIAN ORIGIN
It was a historic moment indeed for the Indians on the day of immensely illuminated festival of lights , celebrated with usual gaiety & enthusiasm after a two year gap, due to Covid pandemic in between.
Forty two year old Rishi Sunak’s election as the leader of ruling Conservative party may not only bring a ray of hope for the crisis ridden British economy but will also give a fitting reply to, if not shut the mouth of the likes of Winston Churchill, who had doubted skills of Indian leaders on the eve of our independence.
IS IT TURNING OF TABLES ?
1.) Tables seem to have turned in just 75 years with grandchild of an Indian from Punjab ready to rub shoulders with the mighty leaders of the World. Stocks in U.K. closing at higher points and British Pound gaining in trading, welcomed the Southampton born, Oxford and Standford educated M.P. from Richmond,Yorkshire in a optimistic if not befitting manner. Even US.President has found the youngest ever would be British P.M.in 210 years, “pretty astounding and a ground breaking milestone”.
2.) With Sunak set to be sworn in on 28th October, Indians are not only strengthening their presence but making their distinct mark in a confident and resounding way. Though he has promised stability and unity as his priority to build a better future for children and grand children, Sunak has an extremely tough road ahead with surging double digit inflation, highest ever cost of living, inevitable energy crisis due to Russia Ukraine war, turbulence on health and labour fronts and above all, biting rifts within the ruling party.
3.) Beginning as a Minister in another short lived Theresa May Government and consolidating his financial governance acumen under the stewardship of Boris Johnson during the Covidpandemic ,Rishi may not seemed to have matured enough politically in the traditional parlance. But he has proved his mettle to fill the vacuum.He could strike the iron when it appeared hot, thanks to flamboyance of Boris Johnson and relative immaturity of Liz Truss.
CAN BRITISH HOPE FOR A SENSE OF RELIEF ?
4.) After Sunak secured nomination from 193 M.P.’s as against 26 by Penny Mordaunt, another former Minister, expectations naturally have risen from the Ex- Chancellor of Exchequer to work swiftly for providing needed assurance and relief to citizens reeling under a high cost of living syndrome. Jeremy Hunt, the outgoing Secretary of Finance, ironically has expressed optimism for the troubled British economy.
5.) One of the major and immediate challenges for the son of an Indian Doctor father and Pharmacist mother will be to review country’s stand vis a vis Ukraine crisis. Further support to stand taken by his predecessors may not be desirable as he is destined to set domestic situation in order and for that spiralling prices have to be brought down. Needless to say, prices of fuel as also essential food items have gone haywire in U.K. ever since Russian action in Ukrain began on 24th February. Also he may spare a thought to cut down on supply of arms and ammunition to the shattered country. He may like to let USA continuing to indulge in a proxy war with the Russians.
6.) Whatever it may be, poll ratings of Tories have plunged substantially and taking advantage of fluid situation, Labour Party does not want anything less than a fresh General election. It is embarrassing if not shocking to note that the country that used to rule over major parts of the world at one point of time and still has thirteen countries under its fold, is getting its third P.M. in less than a year. Keir Starmer, leader of main opposition Labour party may be thus justified in saying that Conservatists having lost a mandate to govern, should declare a General election.
FUTURE OF INDO-BRITISH RELATIONS
7.) It may be rather too early to expect Sunak to revive the dialogue process to have a free trade agreement with India which was promised to be inked on the eve of Diwali. Indian Government ,rather needs to put legitimate pressure on British authorities to extradite a large number of Indians lengthening their illegal stay in Britain. This includes the infamous Vijay Mallya , pro Khalistani& Islamic elements indulging into narco -terrorism and some bigwigs of Bollywood. Perhaps time is also ripe for a review of Indo-U.K. Extradition Treaty signed in 1992.
8.) Another area could be intensive monitoring of rising money laundering activities by the dubious Indian businessmen, politicians and civil servants in form of purchase of real estate, factories and some other business units in U.K. According to a video channel, it may have to be examined as to how 14 lakh 51 thousand Indians( 2.2% of total population of U.K. ) own over 650 businesses and 74% of them own personal houses as opposed to only 48% British. Thus they have become the second or third largest foreign direct investors.
Indians are no longer only employees ,they are giving employment. Thus many Indians figure in the list of 20 top wealthy persons of the country.
9.) Of course, further liberalisation of Visa regime may also provide a relatively cheap but I.T. qualified manpower for the struggling economy of England. Students too are likely to gain in the process.
Prime Minister of India, while taking a safe stand has stated that he was looking forward to working closely with Sunak on global issues.
10) T0 CONCLUDE ,
Rishi Sunak has to be given adequate time to settle down. He has to move slowly and cautiously in view of British debt burden having risen to the highest level in sixty years and soaring prices of essential commodities. It has compelled millions to struggle to make both ends meet in a situation when wages earned is lower than sky rocketting goods & services.
It remains to be seen, if in the left over time of two years Sunak proves to be most suitable leader to provide political stability as also inspire much needed confidence among key players of British economy.
By Aaloc Srivastav