Lib Dem Friends of India is an important vehicle for UK-India ties, says Sir Ed Davey

Lib Dem Friends of India is an important vehicle for UK-India ties, says Sir Ed Davey

The Liberal Democrat Leader, Sir Ed Davey, believes his party can get back to its “winning ways” and the “very engaged” Indian diaspora in the UK will play an important role in that journey.

Addressing the Indian Journalists’ Association (IJA) in the UK recently, Sir Ed said his party is keen to solidify its relationship with Indian counterparts and the Liberal Democrat Friends of India plays an active part in making that a reality.

“The Liberal Democrat Friends of India is one of the vehicles to make sure we really understand what’s important to India,” said Sir Ed, who took charge of the party earlier this year.

He noted: “I see the relationship between Britain and India as crucial going forward, even more crucial given Brexit. We have got to do it with some humility. India is a hugely strong, important country. It’s one of the superpowers of this century.

“It’s role in global politics has been under-estimated in this country. It is a critical player in the future of our world, and we need to listen to Indian political opinion and thinking with rather more humility than some people have in our country. We need to understand how India sees the world.”

Describing India as his “second country” in many ways, Davey reflected on his two official visits to India during which he witnessed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s passion on environmental issues as a “global champion on climate change”.

“When you see the tensions between China and the US, which will continue even though Trump has gone, we need to find other countries who will understand the changing power relationships in our world and India is the prime example of that,” he said, adding that the Lib Dems under his leadership are determined to pursue an in-depth understanding of India.

In reference to the party’s dismal performance in the December 2019 general election and a failure to connect with voters, including the diaspora, the Lib Dem leader admitted that the party’s Brexit message did not work. The electorate voted more to “stop Labour rather than stop Brexit”.

But in future, he stressed, the Lib Dems would once again emerge as “critical players” in the UK’s political landscape and would want to attract members of the 1.5-million-strong British Indian diaspora to its fold.

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