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The best and worst of times

Controversy broke out over asylum issue, but much was also done to reflect growing diversity as Asians gave more to their chosen land.

india Updated: Aug 11, 2004 12:56 IST

It was the best of times and the worst of times. The year brought controversial measures for asylum seekers, but all was not grumbly and gloomy. The year had high high points to shoot away dark clouds of outsourcing outrage and UK did much to reflect is growing ethnic diversity as Indians and other Asians contributed excellently to the land they had adopted.

Issue of asylum seekers dominated with the topic generating a lot of heat in the second half of the year.

Astonishingly, the number of Indians seeking asylum in UK grew at an alarming rate - 2500 claims have been from India, according to the Indian High Commissioner Ronen Sen. To have so many asylum seekers from a democracy like India has given rise to doubts whether they are genuine asylum seekers. But the efficacy of language tests to substantiate the authenticity of their claims is under a cloud.

In an unprecedented strategy document released late on Tuesday, the British Foreign Office singled out "Islamic countries or groups" as posing one of the greatest challenges to Western democracies.

But all was not grey and controversial. They were very evident moves from the side of the government to reflect the growing ethnic diversity of the UK. Travel tips were issued in Hindi, Gujarat, Punjabi, Bangla and Urdu, a BBC film is all set to record the immense contribution of the community in NHS who acted as saviours when it was facing a resource crisis.

In a first ever, an India chair set up at Chatham house will conduct a two-year research programme for "The Global Position of India in 2010".

More high points: A study pointed out that Asians were the most tech-savvy in Britain and Indian students outshone other Asians in the field of education in school, while Indians also outstripped their white counterparts in Cambridge.

First Published: Dec 27, 2003 21:38 IST