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‘India among difficult four’

  • Category
    International Relations
  • Published
    25th Jan, 2021

Along with Russia, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, India is classed as one of the “difficult four” countries, destined to count among the UK’s “rivals” or “awkward counterparts” as it pursues its global goals.

Context

Along with Russia, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, India is classed as one of the “difficult four” countries, destined to count among the UK’s “rivals” or “awkward counterparts” as it pursues its global goals.

About

The Report

  • Title of the Report: “Global Britain, Global Broker”.
  • Published by: Chatham House, the century-old UK-based policy institute also known as the Royal Institute of International Affairs.
  • The report sketches a bold path ahead for the UK. It proposed a blueprint for Britain’s future foreign policy after Brexit.

What’s in the Report?

  • The report groups India on the other side of a “new divide in international affairs — between open societies where citizens have the capacity to fight for their rights and those where these rights are denied”.
  • Developing the relationship with India, a pivotal regional democracy, as part of this shift in British strategic focus, will prove a complex task.
  • India will very soon become the largest country in terms of population and will have the third-largest economy and defence budget in a decade’s time.
  • As a result, India is always on the list of countries with which a new UK government commits to engage.
  • But it should be obvious by now that the idea of a deeper relationship with India always promises more than it can deliver.
  • India’s importance to the UK is inescapable.

India’s complex, fragmented domestic politics a hindrance

  • The report also took into consideration India’s domestic politics, while advising the British government. It stated:
    • India’s complex, fragmented domestic politicshave made it one of the countries most resistant to open trade and foreign investment.
    • India does not have “a proactive foreign policy on the global issues” and would probably not join Britain in supporting liberal democracy beyond its shores.

The Report added:

  • To the contrary, the overt Hindu nationalism of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party is weakening the rights of Muslims and other minority religious groups, leading to a chorus of concern that intolerant majoritarianism is replacing the vision of a secular, democratic India bequeathed by Nehru.
  • And the government’s broader crackdown on human rights activists and civil society groups is no longer being actively challenged by the judiciary, leading to growing complaints about erosion of the rule of law, not only from domestic groups but also the UN and other democracy-watchers.
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