‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham’: UK opposition leader Keir Starmer on FTA with India

LONDON: The UK’s opposition chiefKeir Starmer has described the ups and downs of the federal government’s negotiations in direction of a free commerce settlement (FTA) with India as ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham’ and dedicated the Labour Celebration to pursuing an “all the time glad” bilateral relationship. Throughout his speech at a Diwali celebration within the Homes of Parliament complicated in London organised by the British Indian suppose tank 1928 Institute final week, Starmer referenced the Bollywood box-office hit which interprets as generally glad, generally unhappy.India and the UK are presently within the 14th spherical ofFTA negotiations to boost the GBP 36-billion bilateral buying and selling partnership, with a number of anticipated completion factors having handed.
“We will likely be rebuilding Britain’s fame on the worldwide stage and which means a brand new strategic partnership with India,” stated Starmer.
“The Tories are engaged on a free commerce settlement, I feel. It is all a bit stop-and-start. In actual fact, you can nearly name the negotiations ‘Khabi Kushi Khabhie Gham’. However Labour needs greater than that – we would like a deeper understanding. You may name it an all the time glad relationship. A relationship primarily based on our shared values of democracy, aspiration and respect,” he stated.
The FTA talks started in January final yr with Diwali 2022 set because the preliminary deadline by then prime minister Boris Johnson. Below the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak-led Tory authorities, no new timelines have been set however each side are eager to get issues signed off earlier than a common election yr in India and the UK in 2024.
In the meantime, the Opposition Labour Celebration, which is main the opinion polls over the governing Conservatives forward of the anticipated polls, is eager to achieve out to Britain’s estimated 1.9 million sturdy Indian diaspora voters.
“To British Indians, I wish to specific my admiration and respect for every part you do for our nation. With out your efforts, this nation could be diminished in so some ways,” stated Starmer, who was joined by senior members of his shadow cupboard on the occasion final Wednesday.
His shadow international secretary, David Lammy, shared reflections from his wide-ranging discussions with Exterior Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, who was within the UK on a five-day go to final week.
“We talked, after all, concerning the free commerce settlement. We talked about growth support and partnership throughout South Asia and in addition, Africa… about tech and digital, and the massive contribution science and tech could make in an age of AI (synthetic intelligence),” he stated.
Along with leaders representing the Hindu religion, a cross-section of parliamentarians and activists joined the group cohesion-themed Diwali occasion which included messages of goodwill and solidarity by outstanding members of the Jewish, Islamic and Christian faiths.
“In these instances, the message of sunshine over darkness, of fine over evil and information over ignorance is so vital,” stated Anneliese Dodds, chair of the Labour Celebration and shadow ladies and equalities secretary.

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