What This Means For India

    Prospective UK PM Keir Starmer will take oath later today.


    Labour Party chief Keir Starmer replaced Rishi Sunak as the Britain Prime Minister, with election results pointing at a crushing loss for the Conservatives. The first month of a Keir Starmer premiership will be a whirlwind of international diplomacy including meetings with US President Joe Biden and European leaders.

    Labour, out of power since 2010, has pledged a foreign policy of “progressive realism”, seeing a more volatile world “as it is not as we would want it to be”, said David Lammy, who is expected to become foreign secretary.

    The party has also pledged to “make Brexit work” and seek “an ambitious” security pact with the European Union.

    Another key aspect of Starmer’s foreign policy agenda will be strengthening UK-India relations. Acknowledging historical missteps, particularly Labour’s stance on issues like Kashmir, Starmer has pledged to forge a new strategic partnership with India. His commitment to a free trade agreement (FTA) and enhanced bilateral cooperation in technology, security, education, and climate change underscores his ambition to elevate relations with one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.

    His manifesto included a commitment to pursue a “new strategic partnership” with India, emphasizing the trade agreement.

    In a bid to repair strained ties with the Indian diaspora in the UK, Starmer during his campaign embarked on domestic outreach efforts, denouncing Hinduphobia and celebrating cultural festivals like Diwali and Holi. These gestures are aimed at fostering greater trust and inclusion within British-Indian communities, a demographic vital to Labour’s electoral calculus.

    However, challenges loom on the path to realising Starmer’s ambitious foreign policy goals, particularly concerning immigration policies and trade agreements. With bipartisan consensus on the need to reduce immigration, negotiations on temporary visas for Indian workers in the UK service industry present a delicate balancing act for Labour.

    Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s last-minute attempt to sway voters appears to have fallen short. The Conservatives warned voters that opting for Labour would lead to higher taxes. Led by Keir Starmer, the Labour Party is currently ahead on 403 seats, while Rishi Sunak’s party has won just 109. To secure victory, a party needs to win 326 seats in the 650-member House of Commons.

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