Updated: Oct 5, 2022
On Tuesday 6th of September 2022, we saw the appointment of Liz Truss as the new prime minister of the United Kingdom. With increased pressure to limit price increases, quell labor unrest, and improve a healthcare system that is hindered by huge waiting lists and a shortage of staff, she immediately started the massive task that lay before her. There are a lot of challenges ahead of her and the most prominent one is the energy crisis brought on by Russia's invasion of Ukraine that threatens to drive energy prices to unaffordable heights, forcing businesses to close, and leaving the nation's poorest citizens shivering in freezing homes this winter. There has been a major shift in global politics after Russia invaded Ukraine and Europe is at the center of it.
When considering UK-India relations under the Truss prime ministership, subtle and positive relations are to be expected. The interests that European countries had in India’s reaction to the Russian invasion of Ukraine are well known. There were a lot of suggestions coming from western countries that India should boycott Russia. However, India has its foreign policy to look after. This interest of western countries shows the importance of India to them. After all, India is a very important player in the Indo-Pacific region and a vital weapon against the rise of China which is another major problem for the west.
India and the U.K. are going well with one another. The Enhanced Trade Partnership (ETP) between India and the UK was approved by Liz Truss in May 2021 while she was the International Trade Secretary for the PM Boris Johnson-led administration. In addition to visiting India, Liz Truss spoke with Piyush Goyal virtually. Liz Truss had called India a "huge, major opportunity" during the discussions. Liz Truss had stated that she saw India and the United Kingdom as a "sweet spot" when questioned about trade dynamics.
Even after the resignation of PM Johnson, there was no halt in the progress of the agreements. The work was going on with full force. With 19 out of 26 chapters completed, India and the UK are on course to wrap up discussions for a comprehensive FTA by Diwali. She had urged India to choose the UK over Russia for defense and security earlier in March 2022 while on a visit there (which coincided with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov’s visit). She stated: " Because India currently depends on Russian weapons to a 60% degree and is concerned about Russia's geopolitical relations with China. There is a real opportunity for tighter cooperation.” Earlier she also talked about ensuring a smooth VISA process for Indians mentioning Indians are one of the best and brightest people. Some policies will ensure the priority of Visa services to Indians going to the UK for purpose of studies.
So, talking about the importance of India in the Indo-Pacific region and its active role in global politics, PM Liz Truss will ensure a smooth and positive relationship between these two nations for the betterment of both.
Press, T. A. (2022, September 6). Liz Truss is now officially the U.K.'s prime minister after meeting with the queen. NPR. Retrieved September 8, 2022, from https://www.npr.org/2022/09/06/1121266992/liz-truss-prime-minister-queen-elizabeth
Livemint. (2022, September 5). Predicting Liz Truss' ties with India, here's what her tweets suggest. mint. Retrieved September 8, 2022, from https://www.livemint.com/news/world/can-we-trust-liz-truss-to-be-a-friend-of-india-here-s-what-her-tweets-suggest-11662381080868.html
Liz Truss is confirmed as PM Boris Johnson's successor. what it means for India. Hindustan Times. (2022, September 5). Retrieved September 8, 2022, from https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/free-trade-pact-with-india-will-be-top-priority-for-britain-s-next-pm-liz-truss-101662397234661.html