Members of the House of Lords saw the election of the Narendra Modi government as an opportunity to renew UK-India relations during a debate on Thursday, but prominent industrialist Swraj Paul decried the ‘stream of ungenerous and ill-informed advice’ from UK to India on key issues.
The short debate was on the the UK government’s assessment of the outcome of the 2014 general election in India. Lord Dholakia said that before BJP’s win, India had ‘gone through a period of stagnation with a declining economy’.
Paul said there had been a slow decline in UK-India relations over the past decade, and regretted the unsolicited advice and suggestions made from the UK to India on issues such as human rights, Jammu and Kashmir, corruption and the past denial of visa to Modi.
“(I) am concerned, and share the disquiet that so many Indians feel, about the stream of ungenerous and often ill-informed advice that is directed from this country to India, generally offering unsolicited counsel on how India should conduct its democracy and manage its affairs,” he said.
Stating example, he added, “The point I am making is not that transgressions should be overlooked or excused, but that the needless pursuit of ill-informed criticism and unfair comment can only damage the good relations that characterise the Indo-British nexus.
Speaking for the government, Lord Wallace of Saltaire said there had been nine ministerial visits to India since the Modi government took over, and listed the economic and trade initiatives undertaken so far.