Rishi Sunak Britain PM: Rishi Sunak has become the youngest Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (UK). However, he is not the first Indian-origin leader who has reached a top position at the global level. Before him, 6 more leaders have done this. In fact, Britain is now the sixth country where a person of Indian origin will hold the highest position.
Rishi Sunak will be the first person of Indian or Asian origin to hold this position. However, this trend of people of Indian origin in powerful positions is not limited to Britain. Take a look at the list of some prominent persons of Indian origin holding high positions in other parts of the world.
- Antonio Costa, Prime Minister, Portugal
- Mohamed Irfan, President, Guyana
- Pravind Jugnauth, Prime Minister, Mauritius
- Prithviraj Singh Rupun, President, Mauritius
- Chandrika Prasad Santokhi, President, Suriname
- Kamala Harris, Vice President, United States
Will India-UK relations be affected?
42-year-old British-Indian Rishi Sunak has undoubtedly become the youngest Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, but that does not mean that it is going to have a huge impact on India-UK relations. However, Sunak’s legacy reflects the growing power of the Indian diaspora all over the world, as he has succeeded in politics as a Hindu, which is clearly not possible in the United States. However, there too the Indian diaspora are equally more powerful in terms of education, jobs and social status. Many Indian-Americans, including Vice President Kamala Harris, have held important political positions in the US.
Incidentally, Sunak is married to an Indian, who is the daughter of an information technology tycoon and holds an Indian passport. Let us also know an interesting thing here that as the Chancellor of the Exchequer under Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Sunak took the oath of office while holding the Hindu holy book, the Bhagavad Gita. Also, when he campaigned for the Tory leadership earlier this year, he tweeted pictures and videos of himself worshiping a cow on Lord Krishna’s birthday. At the same time, it was also a coincidence that Indian-origin sage Sunak was made the Prime Minister on the same day Diwali was being celebrated.
According to “Indiaspora”, a US-based non-profit organization representing the Indian-origin community globally, in Mauritius, nine heads of state, including Mr. Jagannath and Mr. Rupun, are of Indian origin. Similarly, Suriname has seen five presidents of the community. In addition, four heads of state in Guyana and three in Singapore were of Indian origin. Apart from these countries, Trinidad and Tobago, Portugal, Malaysia, Fiji, Ireland and Seychelles have also elected an Indian-origin head of state.
Is Rishi Sunak good for India-UK relations?
After Rishi Sunak became the Prime Minister, one of the most important questions is whether the relations between India and Britain can be better or better now? Let’s try to find the answer to this question. If media reports are to be believed, there is little chance that Sunak will change the course of India-UK relations, which were agreed upon during the days of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Boris Johnson. The India-UK Free Trade Agreement will certainly continue and the deepening of bilateral defense cooperation will continue to meet the challenges of an emerging but hegemonic China.
In fact, Sunak is not known for any important foreign policy issues. As a supporter of his previous leader, Boris Johnson, he has been a supporter of Brexit and suspicious of China. Otherwise no one has found any significant foreign policy statement that he has made on India in general and on India in particular as a prominent UK conservative leader.
Influence of Indians in the UK
A study by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace shows that the demographic weight and political influence of British Indians in the United Kingdom continues to grow. According to the latest government figures from 2021, there are more than a million British of Indian origin in the United Kingdom. About 86 percent of the population of England and Wales is white, with Asian ethnic groups being the second largest.
As for people of Indian origin in the UK, who number 1.4 million, they make up 2.5 per cent of the total British population, but this figure was from the 2011 census; The number would have been higher today. No wonder fifteen Indian-origin Members of Parliament (MPs), including two high-profile cabinet ministers, took office in the 2019 British election. Sunak was one of them.
Indians ring in the UK!
Nine out of the top 100 entrepreneurs in the United Kingdom and three out of the 20 richest residents of Britain are Indians. Many Indian businesses own their second home in the United Kingdom. Thus Sunak becoming prime minister would further strengthen the preference for Hindus and Christians of Indian origin, who are much higher than fellow Muslims and Sikhs.
However, this trend is not necessarily going to have much of an impact on Britain’s already growing relationship with India. As noted in the Carnegie study, “When it comes to foreign policy, some British Indians view UK-India relations as a top political issue… Do not consider the side with the benefit.”
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