Coming as a major delight for the British Indian community, UK PM Boris Johnson has assured the British Indians that there is no place for anti- Hindu or anti-India sentiments in the UK. While addressing the Indian diaspora at Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in London on the occasion of the 98th birth anniversary of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, PM Johnson said, “There can be no place for racism or such sentiments in this country”.
In an interview, PM Boris Johnson said “We will protect the British Indian community. It is very important that we don’t import into this country the prejudices, discrimination and anxieties that you see emerging from conflicts and disputes around the world.” Acknowledging the 6.5 per cent contribution to the GDP by the 2 per cent Indian community residing in the UK, PM Boris Johnson said he will end the discriminatory visa rules that give ‘preferential treatment to European Union’.
Talking about the “good relations” he shares with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the British PM said, “I know PM Modi is building a new India and we in the UK will support him in this endeavour.” As the elections in Britain are around the corner, Johnson added that if he is elected with a majority, he will visit India at the earliest to strengthen the “living bridge” between UK and India.
Notably, Boris Johnson has always been enthusiastic towards India, in the past too Boris Johnson had said at the India Today conclave in March 2019 that PM Narendra Modi “is a firecracker” and that he had formed a very positive impression of him. “He came to meet me when I was London’s Mayor…then he went and had a rally in Wembly. And I knew then that we are dealing with an absolute political phenomenon because he got a huge number of people to support him,” narrated Boris, citing his admire for the Indian Prime Minister.
Interestingly, Boris Johnson or ‘Britain’s Trump’ had also termed himself as ‘India’s son-in-law’ for his estranged wife Marina Wheeler, is half Indian. Her Sikh mother, Dip Singh was formerly married to the late Indian writer, Khushwant Singh’s younger brother. Dip’s sister was also married to Khushwant Singh’s older brother. In his 25 years of marriage with Marina Wheeler, Boris Johnson had visited India several times.
However, one of the key issues for the British Indians is the ever-growing presence of disruptive anti-India elements, which are threatening the well being of Indians in London among all the other parts. It must be mentioned that in the recent past, several attacks have been conducted by anti-India groups on the Indian high commission in London.
The UK most recently has witnessed two anti-India protests and as these protests turned violent, there were genuine concerns for the safety of the Indian High Commission and the matter was taken up at the highest level with Prime Minister Modi discussing the protests with his British counterpart Boris Johnson over a phone call. It is said that Johnson had expressed regret over the incident and assured that all necessary steps would be taken to ensure the safety and security of the High Commission and its personnel and visitors. The protest on August 15, was conducted in order to disturb India’s Independence Day celebrations however taking cognizance of the twin anti-India protests, the Indian High Commission had sent a diplomatic letter to the UK over the issue.