A few first in Indo-UK relationship


Modi UK Visit

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s three-day visit to the United Kingdom was marked by a few ‘first.’

To begin with, it was the first time that, in a joint statement of the two countries, Pakistan-based terrorist networks like Lashkar-e-Toiba, Hizb-ul-Mujahidden and the Haqqanis were explicitly named along with Islamic State and al-Qaeda.

Another first was the agreement between the two countries to work together for providing world-class expertise, education and training to their nations’ cyber security professionals. This would be achieved through the establishment of Cyber Security Training Centre of Excellence, according to the joint statement.

Bringing London to agree on naming Pakistani terrorist organizations in the joint statement could be considered an achievement in the light of the fact that barely two years ago, during Prime Minister David Cameron’s visit to New Delhi, the joint statement issued then did not mention either Pakistan or its terrorist trade by name.

However, London’s willingness in “disrupting all financial and tactical support” for Pakistani terrorist networks could be translated on the ground only if New Delhi first develops its own strike capability and will to hunt these terrorists down. As of now, the NaMo administration’s initiative in this regard is unclear or maybe deliberately shrouded in secrecy.

There could be no doubt that the UK may have a much longer arm in Pakistan because of its long and intimate relationship with many constituents of its government. To secure the help of that arm for India’s benefits is a challenge to New Delhi. The initiative taken by the two prime ministers to join hands in defence capability building and cyber security could be used as a first step towards building a comprehensive and reliable relationship. For unless it happens, it will be foolish to expect any solid support from London.

As persistent Islamist violence increases on European soil – the latest being the November 13 massacre in Paris that has triggered a state of emergency in France, it’s possible for the two countries to take off their relationship to a new height.

They could cement their relationship on the vibes and understanding built during the meeting of the two prime ministers. These vibes are not temporary by nature and wouldn’t die away easily because of two simple reasons:the Brits know and understand Indians much better than India’s elite and are keen on entering into mutually-beneficial collaborations as their enchantment with China fades away; and secondly, the Indian diaspora in the UK is made up of business tycoons and politicians and professionals contributing to the immense growth of its trade and economy; thirdly and finally, by adopting the British way of life in a large measure and shunning any association with crime and cultural and religious bigotry, the 1.5 million strong Indian community stands out as a model of ideal citizenry in the country of their adoption.

Report: M K Shukla (Editor)

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