India-UK Relation | 27 Oct 2022

For Prelims: Indo-pacific, FTA

For Mains: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests

Why in News?

Recently, Rishi Sunak took charge as the 57th Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

  • He is the country’s third PM in 50 days after first Boris Johnson and then Liz Truss was forced from office by a rebellion within the ruling Conservative Party.

Who is Rishi Sunak?

What are the Opportunities for India-UK ties under PM Rishi Sunak?

  • It is an opportunity for India and the U.K to work closely together on global issues and implement the roadmap 2030 for bilateral relations with the elevation of a person of Indian origin as prime minister of the U.K.
  • His vision for India-U.K. bilateral ties has gone beyond the opportunity for the U.K. to sell things in India, wanting Britain to also "learn from India".
  • A Free Trade Agreement between India and the UK is expected to enhance economic growth and prosperity by: increasing import and export flows; increasing investment flows (both outward and inward); enhancing productivity through a more efficient allocation of resources; and greater openness to international competition.

Why is the Indo-UK Partnership Important?

  • For UK: India is a key strategic partner for the UK in the Indo-Pacific both in terms of market share and defence, as was underscored by the signing of the Defence and International Security Partnership between India and the UK in 2015.
    • For Britain, a successful conclusion of an FTA with India would provide a boost to its ‘Global Britain’ ambitions as the UK has sought to expand its markets beyond Europe since Brexit.
    • Britain has been trying to seize opportunities in the growing economies of the Indo-Pacific to cement its place on the global stage as a serious global actor.
      • The British would be better able to achieve this goal with good bilateral relations with India.
  • For India: The UK is a regional power in the Indo-Pacific as it possesses naval facilities in Oman, Singapore, Bahrain, Kenya, and British Indian Ocean Territory.
    • The UK has also confirmed USD 70 million of British International Investment funding to support the usage of renewable energy in India, which will help in building renewable energy infrastructure and developing solar power in the region.
    • India has sought easy market access for Indian fisheries, pharma, and agricultural products besides duty concession for labour-intensive exports.

What are the Current Major Bilateral Issues between the Both Countries?

  • Extradition of Indian Economic Offenders:
    • The issue is the extradition of Indian economic offenders who are presently seeking shelter in Britain and using the legal system to their advantage.
    • Offenders like Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi and others have long taken shelter under the British system despite clear cut Indian cases against them which warrant extradition.
  • Umbilical link between the British and Pakistani Deep State:
    • This legacy of the long-gone British Raj in the sub-continent allows Britain to box in a higher weight category with the help of Pakistan on imperial follies of Jammu and Kashmir.
    • The presence of a large Muslim community from the sub-continent in the UK, particularly from areas like Mirpur of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir adds to dissonance apart from the trap of vote bank politics.
  • Non-Acceptance of White Britain:
    • The unacceptance of white Britain particularly its media of the rise of India as a global power is another issue.
      • India under the current Prime Minister has left behind Britain as the fifth largest economy in GDP terms and is on the way up.
      • There is no difference between a modern and confident Indian and a British colonial Indian in terms of skin colour or the imperial legacy of the British Empire.

What is the Distinction between the British and Indian Parliamentary System?

  • The parliamentary system of government in India is largely based on the British parliamentary system. However, it never became a replica of the British system and differs in the following respects:
    • India has a republican system in place of the British monarchical system. In other words, the Head of the State in India (that is, President) is elected, while the Head of the State in Britain (that is, King or Queen) enjoys a hereditary position.
    • The British system is based on the doctrine of the sovereignty of Parliament, while the Parliament is not supreme in India and enjoys limited and restricted powers due to a written Constitution, federal system, judicial review and fundamental rights.
    • In Britain, the prime minister should be a member of the Lower House (House of Commons) of Parliament. In India, the prime minister may be a member of any of the two Houses of Parliament.
    • Usually, the members of Parliament alone are appointed as ministers in Britain. In India, a person who is not a member of Parliament can also be appointed as minister, but for a maximum period of six months.
    • Britain has the system of legal responsibility of the minister while India has no such system. Unlike in Britain, the ministers in India are not required to countersign the official acts of the Head of the State.
    • ‘Shadow cabinet’ is a unique institution of the British cabinet system. It is formed by the opposition party to balance the ruling cabinet and to prepare its members for future ministerial office. There is no such institution in India.

Way Forward

  • The profound ties of culture, history and language already give the UK a potentially strong foundation upon which to further deepen its relationship with India.
  • With a whole new set of circumstances, India and Britain should recognise that they both need each other to achieve their larger goals.

UPSC Civil Services Examination Previous Year Question


Q. We adopted parliamentary democracy based on the British model, but how does our model differ from that model? (2021)

  1. As regards legislation, the British Parliament is supreme or sovereign but in India, the power of the Parliament to legislate is limited.
  2. In India, matters related to the constitutionality of Amendment of an Act of the Parliament are referred to the Constitution Bench by the Supreme Court.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (c)


Q. The judicial systems in India and the UK seem to be converging as well as diverging in recent times. Highlight the key points of convergence and divergence between the two nations in terms of their judicial practices. (2020)

Source: TH