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India-UK Ties | Despite euphoria, Rishi Sunak’s impact will be marginal at best

Rishi Sunak’s top priority will be to get the UK’s economy back on track, and unite a badly-divided Conservative Party

October 26, 2022 / 09:36 AM IST
UK PM Rishi Sunak. (File photo/AP)

UK PM Rishi Sunak. (File photo/AP)

We did not have a UK-India FTA on Diwali, as hoped by the then visiting British Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier this year. But we do have an Indian-origin Prime Minister in 10 Downing Street now. Rishi Sunak’s ascent to power has generated a lot of interest in India. The UK’s youngest Prime Minister in 200 years is a practicing Hindu who earlier took oath on the Bhagwad Gita.

Despite being relatively new to British politics, he has played his cards well. Within a few years of becoming Member of Parliament, he was first appointed Chancellor of Exchequer, and now Prime Minister. This despite the fact that he is non-white and descendant of immigrants from India and East Africa.

Although the recent political turmoil within the Conservative Party, and economic difficulties have provided an opportunity for him to become British Prime Minister, this is certainly a huge achievement for British democracy. This does not mean racism is finished in Britain, or suddenly the United Kingdom has become a successful multicultural society. Still, this indicates further maturity in British politics, attitudes, and its democracy. This is not a small achievement. It also shows that merit and competence get rewarded in a free British society.

In his first speech as Prime Minister he highlighted that the country is “facing a profound economic crisis”. Further, the “aftermath of Covid still lingers” and "Putin's war in Ukraine has destabilised energy markets and supply chains the world over”. Without specifying details, he asserted that through “integrity, professionalism and accountability” he would bring “economic stability”, and fix some mistakes made by his predecessor.