‘Britain should recognise re-emerging India’

August 1st, 2010 - 4:11 pm ICT by IANS  

David Cameron London, Aug 1 (IANS) Britain needs to recognise the oppor­tunities presented by a re-emerging India, Business Secretary Vince Cable says, while reflecting on his visit to India as part of Prime Minister David Cameron’s delegation.
It is imperative for Britain to acknowledge India’s growing presence in the world. “Our jobs, ­living standards and long-term security depend on it,” Cable said.

Recalling his image of India as a British colony, Cable wrote in an article in the Daily Mail on Sunday: “My sense of history was largely confined to ­Robert Clive’s military triumphs, the Black Hole of Calcutta, the Indian Mutiny and a strange-looking, half-naked man with a spinning wheel.”

He looked back at his first brush with India at a cricket match in Leeds “where Vijay Manjrekar scored a century and Fred Trueman terrorised the Indian tailenders”.

His first visit to India was as a student 45 years ago, when his impression of India was a country with “grotesque poverty” but “infectious” energy and “great” human warmth.

His marriage to a Kenyan woman of Indian origin firmed up his bond with India, he wrote.

India has progressed a lot in the last half century although poverty still exists, corruption is “serious” and doing business in India “can be difficult”, he noted from his observations during his latest visit.

Cable was, however, all praise for the Indian diaspora in Britain. “Modern India has registered, beyond the remote telephone voice from a call centre, it is because of the Indian presence in Britain rather than the ­British presence in India”.

He went to the extent of saying that the Indian immigrant minority’s educational and economic performance in Britain “is ways above the British average”.

The specialisation of Indians in medicine and IT is the latest impression he carries home from India. He was excited at having met N.R. Narayana Murthy of Infosys Technologies, “the founder of one of the Indian companies, a man who ranks only a little below Bill Gates in the pantheon of IT gods”.

Writing about the change in Indian attitudes to Britain, Cable said the “nostalgia” about the colonial period is largely gone and calls on his home country to change its mindset as well for improving trade relations.

“Taking advantage of these opportunities requires dumping a lot of prejudices about India. We must. There is no future for Britain looking inward and backward, or being trapped in a Eurocentric world. Our country must be open for global business.”

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