The India-United Kingdom has a long history of relationship; with the recent visit of the UK Prime minister, the relationship is being strengthened further. Read here to know more.
Recently, the prime minister of the united kingdom, Boris Johnson visited India, and defence and security initiatives were signed.
These defence and security initiatives, largely emanating from the UK, are aimed at building a strong and trusted bilateral defence and security partnership with India in the long term.
History of India-United Kingdom relations
India and UK are bound by strong ties of history and culture. Here is a summary of the relations before independence.
1600-1857: East India company
1600: Trade was first established between Mughal India and Tudor England. Elizabeth I granted a royal charter to the East India company.
1707: During the rule of Aurangzeb, EIC became more powerful in manufacturing taking India’s then share in global GDP to 25%.
1757: The Battle of Plassey started the advent of company rule in India. Over the years a series of wars and treaties expanded the company’s influence all over India.
Through the Anglo-Mysore wars, anglo-Maratha wars, and Anglo-Sikh wars- EIC controlled most of the Indian subcontinent.
1857: Indian rebellion of 1857 led to the end of company rule in India. The rule was transferred to the crown and the British government.
1858-1947: British Raj
1858: The British Government seized control of the territories and treaty arrangements of the former East India Company.
1876: Queen Victoria was declared the Empress of India and ruled over today’s modern India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.
Over the next span of years, the British fought numerous wars including the Anglo-Afghan Wars, the Anglo-Gurkha Wars, the Anglo-Burmese Wars, the First and Second Opium Wars, and World War I and II on the strength of the British Indian Army.
All the years, the British drained and spilled India’s vast wealth while her people suffered.
Indian independence movement:
The 1857 rebellion became the inspiration for initiating the struggle for independence in India.
The events of the freedom movement eventually led to the dissolution of the British Raj and the Independence of India on 15 August 1947.
However, it also resulted in the Partition of India into two new entities, the Dominion of Pakistan (which included the province of East Bengal that would later achieve independence as Bangladesh) and the Dominion of India.
1950: India decided to be in the commonwealth of nations after becoming a republic.
Both Britain and India have since pursued quite divergent diplomatic paths.
In particular, India became a major force within the Non-Aligned Movement, which initially sought to avoid taking sides during the Cold War. This contrasted with Britain’s position as a founding member of NATO and a key ally of the United States.
2004: The India-united kingdom partnership was upgraded to a strategic one. India’s multifaceted bilateral relationship with the UK intensified with its up-gradation to a Strategic Partnership.
2010: The relations were elevated to ‘Enhanced Partnership for the Future.
The UK supports India’s proposal for permanent membership of the UNSC and is also an important interlocutor for India in the EU, G8, G20, and global contexts.
2021: The prime ministers of both countries agreed to a new and transformational India-UK comprehensive strategic partnership. The ambitious India-UK roadmap 2030 was also adopted.
The India-UK roadmap is based on five pillars-
- trade and economy
- security areas
India-United kingdom economic and trade relations
India is the 2nd largest investor in the UK. While the UK ranks 18th as a trading partner of India, it is 3rd as an investor in India.
2005: The Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO) was inaugurated in New Delhi aimed at boosting two-way bilateral investments.
India’s main exports to the UK are:
- ready-made garments and textiles,
- gems and jewelry,
- engineering goods,
- petroleum and petrochemical products,
- transport equipment and parts,
- manufactures of metals,
- machinery and instruments,
- drugs & pharmaceuticals and
- marine products.
The main imports from the UK to India are:
- precious and semi-precious stones,
- ores and metal scraps,
- engineering goods,
- professional instruments other than electronics,
- non-ferrous metals, chemicals, and machinery.
In the services sector, the UK is the largest market in Europe for Indian IT services.
The top sectors attracting FDI from the UK are petroleum, ports, services, roads and highways, and computer software.
The growth of India’s multinational companies contributed greatly to UK’s business and economy.
India-UK bilateral merchandise trade (Trade in Goods and Trade in Service) has increased exponentially over the decade.
Under the Road map, a free trade agreement was signed in 2021.
- The UK will open up the fisheries industry to more Indian players, expand nursing possibilities, recognize Indian seafarers’ qualifications, and engage in a cooperative dialogue on the Social Security Agreements part of this roadmap.
- In exchange, India has consented to the United Kingdom’s requests for fruits, medical equipment, and mutual recognition of master’s degrees, as well as work toward reciprocal legal services opening.
India-UK cultural relations
India and UK signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Cultural Cooperation in July 2010. The Nehru Centre (TNC), established in 1992 in London, is the cultural outreach of the High Commission of India in the UK.
India-United Kingdom Nuclear Cooperation
Both nations have signed a Civil Nuclear Cooperation Declaration in 2010 to help promote and facilitate cooperation in the nuclear field including nuclear trade and also between the scientific institutions of the two countries
In 2015, the UK and Indian Prime Ministers signed a Nuclear Collaboration Agreement as part of a comprehensive package of collaboration on energy and climate change, including joint research programs and initiatives to share technical, scientific, financial, and policy expertise.
India is the second-largest source of students studying in the UK and the number of Indian students in the UK is approximately 38,000. The UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI) was launched in 2005 with a focus on higher education and research, schools, and professional and technical skills.
2016 was announced as the UK-India year of Education, Research and Innovation.
India-United Kingdom Defence cooperation
At all the three services level, joint exercises and wide-ranging exchanges between the three services are conducted regularly.
Prime Ministers Modi and Johnson have set out a shared vision for the UK-India defence partnership and agreed to advance the relationship to a new level.
India-UK agreed to significant new cooperation on Maritime Domain Awareness, which includes new agreements on maritime information sharing, an invitation to the UK to join India’s Information Fusion Centre in Gurgaon, and an ambitious exercise program that includes joint tri-lateral exercises.
As a Global Force for Good in health, the UK and India will use our combined research and innovation strength to address the biggest global health challenges, save lives and improve health and well-being.
The India-United Kingdom Health Partnership envisions to enhance global health security and pandemic resilience, show leadership in Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR), promote healthy societies and strengthen both our health systems through increased collaboration on clinical education, health worker mobility, and digital health.
The 2030 vision is a step in the right direction for re-energized trade, investment, and technological collaboration that improves the lives and livelihoods of the citizens; enhanced defense and security cooperation; and India-UK leadership in climate.
The India-United Kingdom are dynamic democracies and the world’s leading economies with impressive advancements in human resources, manufacturing, innovation, research, education, space, defence, green technologies, and clean energy, among other areas. This relationship can b utilized for the betterment of the fields and more collaborations should be undertaken.
The historical baggage also needs to addressed cooperatively to diminish the possibility of hindrance in future cooperations.