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37,700 British nationals living in India

While, at the height of the British Empire, there were only 20,000 military and civil British personnel in India.
By Indo-Asian News Service | None, London
UPDATED ON JUL 30, 2006 05:46 PM IST

Amid recent debates about immigration into Britain, official figures reveal that an increasing number of British citizens have been leaving the country and settling in various countries, including India.

In 1921, at the height of the British Empire, there were nearly 20,000 military and civil British personnel in India. Today, there are 37,700 British nationals living in India, figures released by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office reveal.

In other countries in South Asia, the number of British nationals residing are: Pakistan 35,000; Bangladesh 10,000; Sri Lanka 4,800 and Nepal 1,600.

The figures are likely to include people of South Asian origin who have returned to their home countries after acquiring British citizenship.

The count of British passport holders reveals that there are sizeable expatriate communities in nearly 100 countries. In 2004, more than 2,00,000 went to live abroad, up by two-thirds in just five years. And 80,000 more Britons emigrated than returned to Britain after living in foreign countries.

According to the Foreign Office breakdown, the greatest numbers of Britons are in Australia (6,15,500) and in the United States (5,27,500). France, Spain and Germany are the most popular European destinations for emigrants.

Experts believe that the figures showed the pull of English-speaking countries such as India and the world's growing business centres.

Ruth Lea, of the think-tank Centre for Policy Studies told the media, "It is very striking that there are so many Britons in other Anglophone countries. The half-million in America is very high indeed.

"I think this shows there is an Anglophone community in the world. There is between the people of these countries a sense of commonality and cultural sympathy which seems to be much more important than European links although of course there are many people in France and Spain."

The smallest number of British passport holders is in Cuba (700) and Mongolia (300).

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