The author traces the history of formation of the Indian diaspora in the UK, evaluates the key trends that characterize the current state of diaspora. The article highlights the level of involvement and participation of diaspora in the evolution of the bilateral relations, as well as the influence of diaspora over home and foreign policy in the UK and India.
The diaspora today is not just a unique vibrant connection between the two countries, it has also become a factor of influence over domestic, social and economic affairs in both the UK and India. There is a growing number of Indians among British statesmen and politicians. Indians occupy significant posts in various sectors in Britain, including business and finance. This contributes to strengthening of economic ties between the two countries, particularly important considering Britain’s forthcoming exit from the EU. As to internal political matters, though potential issues exist (those include, for instance, the possible transfer from India into Britain of problematic inter-caste relations, India’s criticism over unbalanced approach to teaching colonial history in British schools), the Indian diaspora due to its’ inherent tolerance and moderation generally plays a stabilizing role in the UK, especially on the background of radicalization of other ethnic communities. For the new India the diaspora today is not just an important source of financing, competences and know-how, it is also a significant lobbying and soft-power instrument.
This article is part of a broader research, related to the contemporary relations between the United Kingdom and India. Indian diaspora in the UK is an integral part of the unique centuries-long history that connects the two countries. It is poised to remain a strong factor contributing to interdependence and cooperation between Britain and India in the XXI century.
Key words: Indian diaspora in the UK, history of formation of diaspora in colonial and postcolonial period, key trends in development, political and economic influence, factor in domestic affairs and foreign policy, relations between Britain and India.
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