Changing contours of India-U.K. ties


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Brexit

Mains level: Paper 2- India-U.K. ties

India and the U.K. has shard past, now the present offers an opportunity to strengthen the ties between the two countries.

India-U.K. ties in changing geopolitical landscape

  • India has invited the British Prime Minister as chief guest for the Republic Day parade.
  • India has a shared past with Britain and needs to chart a different shared future, now that Britain has left the European Union (EU).
  • One joint enterprise will be as members of the UN Security Council where Britain has permanent status and India holds a non-permanent seat this year and next.
  • Also, this year, the U.K. will be hosting India as an invitee to the G-7, and the UN Climate Change Conference.

Implications of Brexit on the bilateral relations

  •  For the U.K., Brexit necessitates that every effort be made to seek commercial advantage in Asian countries with high growth rates.
  • India has been fruitlessly negotiating a trade agreement with the EU since 2007, during which Britain was considered the main deal-breaker.
  • The EU wanted duty reductions on autos, wines and spirits and wanted India to open financial sectors.
  • India sought free movement for service professionals.
  • The same obstacles with post-Brexit Britain will arise, because the export profile of both countries is predominantly services-oriented.
  • In response to free movement for professionals, Britain will refer to its new points-based system for immigrants.
  • After withdrawing from the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, and will place greater stress on aspects related to country of origin and percentage of value addition in exports.
  • Therefore, while signing agreement two countries will coverge on pharmaceuticals, financial technology, chemicals, defence production, petroleum and food products.

India-U.K. close ties

  • One and a half million persons of Indian origin reside in Britain.
  • Before COVID-19, there were half a million tourists from India to Britain annually and twice that figure in the reverse direction.
  • Around 30,000 Indians study in Britain despite restrictive opportunities for post-graduation employment.
  • Britain is among the top investors in India and India is the second-biggest investor and a major job creator in Britain.
  • India has a credit balance in total trade of $16 billion, but the level is below India’s trade with Switzerland, Germany or Belgium.


Two countries should strive towards strengthening ties against the backdrop of changing geopolitical circumstances and the Brexit.

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