India and the UK: Tensions between values and interests
In June 2021, the UK hosted the expanded G7 summit, including India, South Korea and Australia. There is speculation that this was a prelude to the creation of a ‘D10’, a new alignment of major democracies to uphold liberal values and a rules-based multilateralism and international order. India is undoubtedly a democracy but the quality of its liberal democratic credentials has been seriously questioned, most notably by the V-Dem Democracy Report 2021, and tested with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the BJP Government came to power in 2014, its policies have been widely criticised for eroding democratic norms. The rise of Hindu nationalism can be seen as part of the broader phenomenon of authoritarian populism with its democratic backsliding and retreat from the rule of law and protection of minorities. As the UK embarks on a new foreign policy and security agenda following the launch of Global Britain in a Competitive Age: the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, it is essential to take stock of some of the key countries in any new grouping if it is to improve the UK’s relations with like-minded partners.
This Aston Centre for Europe and Foreign Policy Centre webinar will reflect on the condition of India’s democracy today. It aims to address the implications for the UK’s engagement with this strategically important potential ‘D10’ member, and examine the different ways in which the UK engages with India. The webinar will also assess the calls in the UK Parliament for sensitivity to the persecution of religious minorities and other concerns of the Indian diaspora on human rights abuses.
This event will be taking place on Zoom.
Amitabh Behar, CEO of Oxfam India
Rita Manchanda, Research Director at South Asia Forum for Human Rights
Professor Kate Sullivan de Estrada, Associate Professor at the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies
Dr Heewon Kim, Lecturer at Aston University
Chair: Stephen Timms MP