Pedestrians walk past a rainwater puddle reflecting the Houses of Parliament and the Elizabeth Tower, commonly referred to as Big Ben, in London, U.K., on Wednesday, March 22, 2017.(Simon Dawson/ Bloomberg)
Pedestrians walk past a rainwater puddle reflecting the Houses of Parliament and the Elizabeth Tower, commonly referred to as Big Ben, in London, U.K., on Wednesday, March 22, 2017.(Simon Dawson/ Bloomberg)

Indians regarded Britain as country in decline, show files from 1984

Indian politicians and officials don’t regard relationship with Britain as special or important, says declassified document.
By Prasun Sonwalkar | Hindustan Times, London
UPDATED ON JUL 29, 2018 01:39 PM IST

Long before Brexit posed questions about Britain’s global stature, Indian politicians and officials considered the country “in decline”, according to a classified February 1984 note by a member of Britain’s Joint Intelligence Committee.

Held back but released under directions of a tribunal following a protracted legal battle by journalist-researcher Phil Miller, the documents include the note by R J O’Neill of the Cabinet Office, providing a rare insight into London’s view of India.

The note contains hitherto undisclosed assessment of key issues in the India-UK relationship attributed to what he called “a complex of attitudes which, because they lie rather deep, we do not always want to bring out into the open”.

O’Neill’s assessment was dated 1984, when India’s role in the Non-Aligned Movement riled the west, but most of his conclusions resonate today, including the perception among many Indian diplomats that Britain’s Foreign Office remain strapped in the colonial era.

O’Neill set out William Harding in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office the ‘problem’ in the India-UK relationship along two sections: ‘On the British side’ and ‘On the Indian side’; each section containing three points.

He wrote: “Indian politicians and officials do not regard the relationship with Britain as special…or as particularly important. Indeed, they regard Britain as a European country in decline, and of very much less account in the world than India”.

“The same people do not look back warmly or with gratitude to the period of British rule…They take the view that India had to struggle for its independence, and finally won it from a reluctant Britain. India owes Britain nothing; much the reverse”.

“At the same time (again) Indians are very sensitive to British criticism of what happens in India, and they react emotionally to United Kingdom opposition to Indian policies. In other words, they have not liberated themselves…of the old relationship as they like to claim (‘Gandhi’ was fine; parts of ‘The Jewel in the Crown’ are not)”.

O’Neill’s three points ‘on the British side’ includes the belief that “We regard India as ‘special’”, but adds: “We feel that we did rather well in India, leaving behind much that we can be proud of, and that we can equally claim some pride in India’s achievements since independence”.

The note goes on to say: “At the same time, we regard many Indian views as misconceived, if not actually mischievous, and we do not take seriously the expressed views of Indian politicians and officials”.

The cache of files released after the tribunal’s ruling includes documents that reveal that days after Indira Gandhi’s assassination in October 1984, there was such concern about a march by Sikh extremists in London that efforts were made to change law so that it could be banned, since permitting it could put contracts worth £5 billion at risk.

The files reveal that foreign secretary Geoffrey Howe in the Margaret Thatcher government was keen to avoid “serious repercussions” in India and “stir up anti-British feelings” by allowing the march.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan appeared to indicate there was a possibility he could lose the crucial vote.(REUTERS)
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan appeared to indicate there was a possibility he could lose the crucial vote.(REUTERS)

Ready to sit in Oppn: Pak PM before key vote

PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 12:56 AM IST
  • The opposition currently has 53 seats in the 100-member Senate, while Khan’s ruling alliance has 47 seats.
Close
US National Guard soldiers guard the grounds of the US Capitol from behind a security fence in Washington, DC, on January 9, 2021. - US Democrats on January 9 were readying for an unprecedented second impeachment of Donald Trump as the defiant US President showed no signs of stepping down after the deadly violence at the Capitol on January 6. (Photo by Daniel SLIM / AFP)(AFP)
US National Guard soldiers guard the grounds of the US Capitol from behind a security fence in Washington, DC, on January 9, 2021. - US Democrats on January 9 were readying for an unprecedented second impeachment of Donald Trump as the defiant US President showed no signs of stepping down after the deadly violence at the Capitol on January 6. (Photo by Daniel SLIM / AFP)(AFP)

US Capitol: Law enforcement on alert after warning of likely breach

AP, Washington
PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 12:49 AM IST
  • The threat appears to be connected to a far-right conspiracy theory, mainly promoted by supporters of QAnon, that former president Trump will rise again to power on March 4 and that thousands will come to Washington, DC, to try to remove Democrats from office.
Close
The comments come after the deadliest day of protests in Myanmar, with at least 38 dead on Wednesday in rallies where security forces were seen firing into crowds.(REUTERS)
The comments come after the deadliest day of protests in Myanmar, with at least 38 dead on Wednesday in rallies where security forces were seen firing into crowds.(REUTERS)

UN tells military: Stop murdering protesters

Agencies
PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 12:45 AM IST
  • At least 700 people were detained on Wednesday alone, with many of them reportedly swept up as forces conducted door-to-door searches.
Close
The US pivot to Asia — in response to and as an acknowledgement of China as a growing threat — started under Barack Obama, and then gathered steam on Donald Trump’s watch with the renaming of the US military’s Pacific Command as the Indo-Pacific Command.(Bloomberg)
The US pivot to Asia — in response to and as an acknowledgement of China as a growing threat — started under Barack Obama, and then gathered steam on Donald Trump’s watch with the renaming of the US military’s Pacific Command as the Indo-Pacific Command.(Bloomberg)

Joe Biden pledges deeper ties in Indo-Pacific in national security plan

By Yashwant Raj
PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 12:42 AM IST
  • It has been taken to a different level by the Biden administration, accorded the same significance as Europe, which has dominated US diplomatic and military thinking and spending for more than a century now, starting with World War I.
Close
The number of new coronavirus cases has risen in Europe after six weeks of decline, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday.(AP)
The number of new coronavirus cases has risen in Europe after six weeks of decline, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday.(AP)

EU reviews Russia’s jab amid fresh spike

Agencies, Moscow
PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 12:36 AM IST
  • The regulator said the review is based on results from research in adults, which suggests the vaccine may help protect against the coronavirus.
Close
In January, the European Commission introduced legislation which allows curbs on exports of coronavirus vaccines if drugmakers fail to meet delivery targets within the bloc.(REUTERS)
In January, the European Commission introduced legislation which allows curbs on exports of coronavirus vaccines if drugmakers fail to meet delivery targets within the bloc.(REUTERS)

Italy blocks Astra Covid vaccine export, risks backlash against EU

Posted by Harshit Sabarwal | Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON MAR 04, 2021 11:03 PM IST
The decision comes after Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi called during an EU summit last week for a tougher approach against companies that don’t respect their delivery commitments.
Close
Diana’s brother. Charles Spencer, has alleged that Bashir used false documents, including fake bank statements, and other dishonest tactics to convince Diana to agree to the interview.(AP)
Diana’s brother. Charles Spencer, has alleged that Bashir used false documents, including fake bank statements, and other dishonest tactics to convince Diana to agree to the interview.(AP)

UK police won't probe journalist over 1995 Princess Diana interview

Posted by Harshit Sabarwal | AP
PUBLISHED ON MAR 04, 2021 11:00 PM IST
The Metropolitan Police force said “no further action will be taken” over allegations journalist Martin Bashir used illegal subterfuge to get the interview.
Close
The company is planning to start building the hotel, Voyager Station, in the low Earth orbit in 2025.(Orbital Assembly Corporation)
The company is planning to start building the hotel, Voyager Station, in the low Earth orbit in 2025.(Orbital Assembly Corporation)

World’s first space hotel with artificial gravity expected to open in 2027

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Kunal Gaurav
PUBLISHED ON MAR 04, 2021 10:43 PM IST
  • With over 11,600 square metres of habitable space, the commercial station will have many features expected in a cruise ship.
Close
Addressing the World Sustainable Development Summit on Wednesday, Jaishankar said India currently had the fastest-growing solar energy programme in the world.(Unsplash)
Addressing the World Sustainable Development Summit on Wednesday, Jaishankar said India currently had the fastest-growing solar energy programme in the world.(Unsplash)

Italy sees sharpest fall in energy demand since WWII due to pandemic: Report

Posted by Harshit Sabarwal | Reuters
PUBLISHED ON MAR 04, 2021 10:43 PM IST
Italian energy and technology research centre ENEA said energy demand in the country slumped 10% last year, driven by a 60% fall in oil consumption.
Close
National Guard walk near the Capitol on March 4, 2021, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP)
National Guard walk near the Capitol on March 4, 2021, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP)

Police request 60-day extension of Guard at US Capitol

Posted by Harshit Sabarwal | AP
PUBLISHED ON MAR 04, 2021 10:33 PM IST
The request underscores the continuing concerns about security and the potential for violence at the Capitol, two months after rioters breached the building in violence that left five people dead.
Close
More than 60,000 people reported feeling the quake on GeoNet's website, with 282 describing the shaking as "severe" and 75 saying it was "extreme".(PTI file photo. Representative image)
More than 60,000 people reported feeling the quake on GeoNet's website, with 282 describing the shaking as "severe" and 75 saying it was "extreme".(PTI file photo. Representative image)

Strong quake shakes New Zealand, but no damage reported and tsunami threat eases

Posted by Harshit Sabarwal | Reuters
UPDATED ON MAR 04, 2021 10:23 PM IST
"There is no longer a tsunami threat from this earthquake," PTWC said in a statement. There were no immediate reports of damage, but the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) advised people in some coastal areas to move immediately to high ground.
Close
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during a virtual meeting with the House Democratic Caucus in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. Biden has agreed to moderate Democrats' demands to narrow eligibility for stimulus checks, but rejected a push to trim extra unemployment benefits, as he tries to win support for his $1.9 trillion pandemic-relief bill, according to a Democratic aide. Photographer: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg(Bloomberg)
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during a virtual meeting with the House Democratic Caucus in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. Biden has agreed to moderate Democrats' demands to narrow eligibility for stimulus checks, but rejected a push to trim extra unemployment benefits, as he tries to win support for his $1.9 trillion pandemic-relief bill, according to a Democratic aide. Photographer: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg(Bloomberg)

White House says relief checks to go to most who got December payment

Posted by Kunal Gaurav | AP
PUBLISHED ON MAR 04, 2021 10:19 PM IST
  • Under the Senate bill, anyone earning up to $75,000 qualifies for the full $1,400 with the payment being cut off entirely at $80,000.
Close
Globally, 265 million doses of vaccines have been administered, with 80% in just 10 countries, WHO's top emergency expert Mike Ryan said on social media on Wednesday night.(AFP)
Globally, 265 million doses of vaccines have been administered, with 80% in just 10 countries, WHO's top emergency expert Mike Ryan said on social media on Wednesday night.(AFP)

Waive Covid vaccine patents to benefit poor nations, activists say

Posted by Harshit Sabarwal | Reuters
PUBLISHED ON MAR 04, 2021 10:00 PM IST
Activists seeking a waiver of intellectual property rules unfurled a huge sign reading "No Covid Monopolies - Wealthy Countries Stop Blocking TRIPS Waiver" in the park next to World Trade Organization's (WTO's) headquarters on Lake Geneva.
Close
Pope Francis begins his historic trip to war-scarred Iraq tomorrow to comfort one of the world's oldest and most persecuted Christian communities.(AFP)
Pope Francis begins his historic trip to war-scarred Iraq tomorrow to comfort one of the world's oldest and most persecuted Christian communities.(AFP)

Iraq beefs up security for pope amid rising violence, pandemic

Posted by Kunal Gaurav | Reuters, Baghdad
PUBLISHED ON MAR 04, 2021 09:38 PM IST
Security forces and armoured vehicles filled otherwise empty streets surrounding two cordoned-off churches the pope is scheduled to go to in central Baghdad.
Close
Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan announced on Thursday he would seek a vote of confidence in the National Assembly this weekend to prove he still has the support of majority lawmakers despite the shock defeat of the finance minister in the Senate's elections.(File Photo/REUTERS)
Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan announced on Thursday he would seek a vote of confidence in the National Assembly this weekend to prove he still has the support of majority lawmakers despite the shock defeat of the finance minister in the Senate's elections.(File Photo/REUTERS)

‘If I lose, …’: PM Imran Khan’s emotional pitch ahead of trust vote this week

By HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 04, 2021 09:50 PM IST
  • Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan insisted that he wouldn’t abandon his campaign against corruption even if loses the trust vote.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP