‘No Indian Raj over Britain’

By Dipankar De Sarkar, IANS,

London : An Indian-born member of the British House of Lords has told the historic chamber that growing Indian investments need not cause fears of an Indian Raj over Britain.

Support TwoCircles

Rather than causing a reversal of history, he told members, Indians could “surely show” Britain a way out of the current recession.

“In the 17th century, Britain entered into trade with India in the name of the British East India Company,” Lord Navneet Dholakia of the Liberal Democrat Party told the British upper house of parliament.

“That was 250 years ago and it provided us with 250 years of British rule.”

“I promise one thing: Indians are not here to establish Indian rule or an Indian Raj, but they can surely show a way out of the dire economic predicament in which we find ourselves,” he said during a debate Monday on Indian investments in Britain.

Dholakia’s light-hearted comments came after figures released by the British government last week showed India has emerged as the second largest investor in Britain.

Business projects created or brought in by Indian investments number 108 – behind top-ranking US’s 621 and just ahead of France’s 101.

Indian investments have led to 4,139 new jobs since last year, contributing to a total pool of nearly 8,000 British jobs that the Indians have created even amid the unemployment brought on by the global recession.

These investments include Indian mergers and acquisitions, the most high profile of which was Tata Motors’ acquisition of the iconic British marques Jaguar and Land Rover last year.

However, Dholakia said: “The UK’s reception of Indian business teams is the weakest in Europe.”

“France, for example, hosted bilateral trade talks with Indian and French businesses, with over 200 French corporations represented. The UK is also under-utilising its small and medium enterprises in its trade relations with India,” he added.