South Asia and Beyond

Boris Johnson Cancelling R-Day Trip Should Not Alarm India: Ranjan Mathai

NEW DELHI: There is no cause for alarm in UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson cancelling his India visit, says former foreign secretary Ranjan Mathai. In an interview with StratNews Global Opinion Editor Ashwin Ahmad, Mathai said it would be bad optics for Johnson to leave his country at a time the pandemic is seeing a surge and there is concern over a mutant strain of the virus.

The fact that he made a promise to visit soon later and that he is including India in one of the most crucial groupings in the world today—the upcoming G7 summit and perhaps incorporating New Delhi into a new grouping called the D10—further shows the UK’s seriousness towards building up the India relationship.

Mathai, who has been India’s high commissioner to the UK, says though increasing voices against India are being heard in the British Parliament in the context of “farmers rights” and other irritants, India has seen far worse. On the issue of large-scale protests outside the Indian High Commission, he pointed out that the UK will continue to not see this as a major issue for some time and that New Delhi must ensure that these “games” do not cross certain red lines.

On the future of the India-UK partnership, Mathai believes they should focus on globally tackling the pandemic together, building up business relationships—a move already been set in motion by British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab’s visit. Common concerns regarding the Indo-Pacific and increased collaboration between India and Five Eyes nations is something that Mathai hopes will develop later in the year.

Ashwin Ahmad

Traveller, bibliophile and wordsmith with a yen for international relations. A journalist and budding author of short fiction, life is a daily struggle to uncover the latest breaking story while attempting to be Hemingway in the self-same time. Focussed especially on Europe and West Asia, discussing Brexit, the Iran crisis and all matters related is a passion that endures to this day. Believes firmly that life without the written word is a life best not lived. That’s me, Ashwin Ahmad.

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