The rise of India: UK perspectives

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Series Details Vol.91, No.1, January 2017, p165-188
Publication Date January 2017
ISSN 1473-8104
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International Affairs is a leading journal of international relations. Members of Chatham House have access to current and previous issues.

Non-Chatham House members can subscribe via Wiley-Blackwell. Electronic access to the full text of the article via the source url above is only available if you (or the network by which you access ESO) already subscribes to Wiley-Blackwell and your network uses a link resolver.The article looks at the rise of India from UK perspectives, a rise and response which are driven by economics. Five themes are pursued, namely the pre-2002 legacy of the past, the 2002–2016 developing partnership, the politics of the current relationship, the economics of the relationship, and the post-Brexit future. With regard to the pre-2002 legacy of the past there is the colonial legacy that both draws the two countries together, yet also leaves friction points of perspectives and sensitivities. The 2002–2016 developing partnership deals with the progress and process of UK–India links during the Blair, Brown and Cameron periods. With regard to the current economics of the relationship, India's economics-driven rise made it a potential magnet for British exports and for two-way investments, and an alternative to China for the UK. With regard to the current politics of the relationship, the disappearance of the Soviet Union had left the way for convergence of two English speaking liberal democracies, who share important anti-terrorism and anti-jihadism concerns.

However, while trade has increased between the UK and India, its volume level has not met expectations, and UK exports have lagged back, thereby leaving a growing trade deficit. Future UK–India relations are dramatically being reshaped by the Brexit referendum vote for the UK to leave the EU, and with it the prospects of a UK–India Free Trade Agreement being negotiated. However, while the economics and politics of the relationship make India increasingly important to the UK, it leaves the UK of secondary importance to India.

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