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Hard to imagine Britain without British Indian diaspora: David Lammy at IGF London

Hard to imagine Britain without British Indian diaspora: David Lammy at IGF London

Our gathering here today is a dazzling example of the extraordinary contribution of British Indians, who are not only our largest diaspora community but without whom it would be hard to even imagine modern Britain,” said David Lammy, in his address during the inaugural day of India Global Forum (IGF) London this week.

Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary, contesting to be re-elected Tottenham MP, also had a clear message to the recently re-elected Indian government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi – that if elected to govern the UK in the July 4 General Election, the party is “ready to go” on the stalled free trade agreement (FTA).

Referring to the Diwali 2022 FTA deadline set by then UK PM Boris Johnson, Lammy said: “Many Diwalis have come and gone now without a trade deal and too many businesses have been left waiting. My message to Minister Sitharaman and Minister Goyal is that Labour is ready to go. Let’s finally get our free trade deal done!”

Calling India a superpower that is the “future of Asia, the future of the English language with almost four times as many English speakers than the UK and the future of democracy itself,” Lammy said: “I deeply believe that India’s democratic elections with almost a billion voters are the most important statement, the most important validation not only of the democratic ideal but of democratic practice in today’s world.”

Turning his focus to the turbulent geopolitical climate, Lammy stressed the importance of a rules-based international order and opposition to those seeking to redraw borders by force, citing Vladimir Putin’s actions in Europe and similar threats in Asia. “Europe and Asia are not two separate worlds. We see this in North Korean shells being fired at Ukrainian defenders in the Donbas and we see this in the political and material support Beijing has given to the Kremlin. China should not throw its lot with Putin’s coalition of Moscow, Tehran and Pyongyang,” he said in a stern warning to China.

Lammy reiterated Labour’s commitment to a new UK-India strategic partnership focused on economic, domestic, and global security. “In this challenging environment, Britain will remain and seek to ramp up its security partnership with India from military to maritime security, from cyber to critical and emerging technologies, from defence industrial cooperation to supply chain security.”

Welcoming Lammy to IGF London Manoj Ladwa, Founder and Chairman of India Global Forum, said: “The UK, and especially the UK-India relationship has much to offer the world. The 5th and 6th largest economies, coming together, working together, and bringing together all their strengths in skills, innovation, business, finance, trade, and security together - A modern partnership of true equals. A partnership for a fairer, more just, and more exciting world of fulfilment and achievement for us all. We have all the makings of a winning partnership

“Whilst there will inevitably be niggling issues along the way, the UK-India relationship, is now firmly of deep national strategic importance.  We cannot, and must not, let the vagaries of domestic politics derail what could well be one of the most defining relationships of our times.”

With over 300+ speakers, 2,000 participants, and 15 events across iconic venues in London and Windsor, IGF London 2024 encompasses a spectrum of topics — from technology and trade to culture and commerce showcasing the role of India, the UK and their global partners in tackling key challenges and unveiling new pathways to a limitless future, underpinned by innovation and collaboration.

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