Nikita Sud’s caution on post-Brexit trade with India widely cited in media amid May visit to Delhi

Posted:
07 November, 2016

As UK Prime Minister Teresa May begins her visit to India, Nikita Sud, Associate Professor of Development Studies at ODID, has been widely cited in the media cautioning that the UK should not make assumptions about its future trading relationship with India in the wake of Brexit.

Professor Sud originally wrote an article for The Conversation suggesting that the UK would be rash to presume that its former colonial relationship with India would help foster good business relations with Delhi.

‘The power balance has shifted since the days of empire,’ she wrote. ‘India, no longer a subject of Britain, has appropriated the legacy of colonialism for itself and is intent on forging a fresh relationship.’

‘Clearly, a “what’s in this for us” mentality prevails,’ she continued. ‘India is looking towards the future, while British allusions to empire, or the assumed camaraderie of the Commonwealth, are based on the past.’

She also noted that one of the big attractions of the UK to Indian companies was the fact that it was a launch pad to the European Union.

The article was subsequently picked up by numerous sources, including Business Insider, the Financial Time’s weekly Brexit roundup, the LSE Brexit blog and British Politics and Policy blog, Quartz.com and Scroll.in.

Over the weekend, Professor Sud was also quoted extensively in the Daily Mail. She reiterated the point that ‘India does not owe a friendly relationship to the UK because of colonialism.’

‘There might be some cultural affinity but we're living in the 21st century. India trades with the UK because it’s profitable and because of the Euro gateway, not because the UK is a former colonial master’.

She noted that India was particularly concerned with matters related to migration and visas, but that these were receiving little attention on the UK side

‘For India to have a post-Brexit relationship with Britain there would need to be much better treatment of Indians seeking to work in the UK.

‘Visas are too expensive. It is cheaper and easier for the Chinese to come to the UK than Indians, and that is reflected in student figures. Indian students coming to the UK have fallen over the last 5-7 years’.

The original article in The Conversation, which drew on a talk Professor Sud gave for the Oxford Alumni Weekend, has been viewed over 120,000 times since publication.