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Global Compass: Starmer Has His Hands Full, Ties With India May Be Labouring

Rahul Roy-Chaudhury from London’s International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) offers a comprehensive analysis of the challenges facing UK Prime Minister Keir Starmer. Chaudhury highlights the significant economic and domestic issues Starmer must tackle immediately, emphasising the lack of a honeymoon period and the immediate need for effective, result-oriented governance.

According to Roy-Chaudhury, Starmer’s government faces an uphill battle, starting with addressing the cost-of-living crisis, economic growth, trade relationships, the NHS, and education. The Labour Party’s manifesto outlines ambitious changes, but the practical implementation of these changes remains uncertain. Roy-Chaudhury notes that the new government must first assess the state of the economy left by the previous Conservative administration and then proceed with tangible policy actions.

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A crucial aspect to the discussion is on the complexities of UK-India relations under the new Labour government. While Rahul Roy-Chaudhury acknowledges that India will remain important due to its economic growth, foreign policy influence, military capabilities in the Indo-Pacific, and the significant British Indian diaspora, he questions the extent of this importance. Chaudhury raises concerns about the Labour government’s foreign policy orientation, pondering whether it will prioritize Euro-Atlantic relations, including issues related to Ukraine and Russia, over the Indo-Pacific region. This uncertainty leaves the future of the UK-India strategic partnership and the free trade agreement in a state of ambiguity.

Roy-Chaudhury remains “cautiously optimistic” about the potential progress in UK-India relations but stresses the need to wait until after the Labour Party conference in October to see any substantial developments. He also points out potential obstacles from grassroots Labour activists that may hinder the relationship.
The interview provides a realistic perspective on the immediate challenges for Starmer’s government and the nuanced dynamics of UK-India relations moving forward.