Indian Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar was on a 4 day visit to the UK to attend the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) meeting, held in London on Friday 17 March.
On Thursday 16 March, he held talks about UK-India bilateral relationship with Ministers in the UK, including International Development Minister Priti Patel and Foreign Office Minister Alok Sharma. In reference to India-UK ties post Brexit, the Minister told reporters, “The history our relationship with the UK has a very large dimension…as Britain undergoes a dramatic re-evaluation of its relationship with Europe, India as a friend hopes to be as helpful as we can.”
On the same day he addressed a closed group of selected people at the High Commission of India over lunch, followed by a talk on “India in the changing world’ at the House of Commons that was chaired by MP Virendra Sharma. The talk was organised jointly by the High Commission of India, Indo-British All-Party Parliamentary Group and International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).
This was attended by Lord Navnit Dholakia, Lord Khalid Hameed, Baroness Usha Prashar and High Commissioner of India to UK, HE Y K Sinha.
The talk revolved around: politics of India, geopolitics of India, foreign policy of India, and India in the 21st century. He spoke about development and prosperity of India, poverty elimination in India and shared security of the world.
Speaking on the current mood of India, the Minister said, “India is in a search of prosperity... As you know economic prosperity and development go hand in hand. But who is this development for? India at this moment wants a prosperity that is shared within and internationally, and PM Modi wants it to go to those who need it the most. As the Prime Minister said in his first speech, the time of poverty alleviation is over. The age of poverty elimination has begun.”
Calling terrorism as the greatest obstacle to prosperity, he further added, It is naive to believe those who encourage terrorism do not have political agenda. One of the main objective for them is to destabilise the architecture of stabilisation created through the methodology of nation state building. Over the last century nation states have been able to maintain stability after colonialism ended. Their aim is to replace nation state through faith supremacy...UN has been trying to find a definition of terrorism for the last 21 years. How can you fight an enemy that you can't define?”
Claiming that faith equality today is the most important tool and an urgent requirement to build all nation cooperation on security (shared security goals), he also spoke about how every single day the Modi government is trying to make life of people better as well as internationally through foreign policies, the importance and arrival of technology in India and growing importance of communication and economic transformation.