We Want to Strengthen India-UK Ties, Says British Labour Party MP

The world economy is changing and the balance of economic power is shifting to the East, British Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said at an event in London.


A Labour government would change the United Kingdom into a “high investment, high productivity, high wage, economy,” Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said while addressing Indian professionals at Chatham House, London, on March 8.

McDonnell said that this would then take care of the “deep structural problems” that businesses face, reported the Hindu. He also discussed the role that business and innovation can play to build economic ties during the meeting with the Indian Professionals Forum, an organization that was set up last year to provide a platform for British Indian professionals, the report added.

McDonnell, who was the key note speaker at the event titled “Post-Brexit UK and India: Perspectives for Business and Innovation,” presented his party’s vision of a post-Brexit Britain and how it will change the United Kingdom’s relationship with India. The Labour MP maintained that it could be “fundamental to transforming” the British economy.

“We have a different way of thinking of Britain’s relationship with India. We want to strengthen that relationship, we need to show on the British side we understand what is needed and wanted on the Indian side,” he said, according to the report.

He also spoke about immigration as one of the most pressing issues that need to be looked into, saying that the Labour Party would not “discriminate against students from India studying here.”

About the government’s decision to keep international students in the net migration figures, McDonnell said that there is no sense to fix a target and worry about the economic impact. “We need to recognize the world economy is changing and changing fast… the balance of economic power is shifting decisively to the East,” he added, according to the report.

“We look to review India’s Bilateral Investment Treaties with India in a way that is mutually beneficial and recognizes how the economies have changed since signing them 25 years ago,” he said. “We stand on the edge of a huge adventure we can work together on.”

Speaking earlier at the Commonwealth Parliamentarians’ Forum, held from Feb.26 to March 01 in London, which was attended by 24 Indian MPs, McDonnell had objected to an “Empire 2.0” approach to building beneficial economic ties with former colonies. He rallied for a ‘partnership of equals’ and mentioned the economic course of India.

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