Strategic Embrace: Strengthening UK-India ties with ‘Labour Indians’

Strategic Embrace: Strengthening UK-India ties with ‘Labour Indians’

Krish Raval is a leadership expert who works with corporations around the world. He is Director of Faith in Leadership, Britain's principal leadership development for all major faith communities. 

Now, as Chair of the newly formed diaspora organisation Labour Indians, he writes exclusively for iGlobal to lay out the vision, motivations and aims of the new group launched in Parliament recently.

In a pivotal move underscoring the Labour Party's growing commitment to the British Indian community, the 'Labour Indians' initiative has been launched. This strategic development is aimed at not only attracting support from the Indian diaspora but also at reinforcing and enriching the relationship between the UK and India, in recognition of India's growing influence as a global power.

The initiative was unveiled at a high-profile event in the Houses of Parliament on February 27, attended by a host of influential Labour Party figures. Among them were Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy, Lord Sahota, Sir Stephen Timms MP, and notable Parliamentary Candidates including Primesh Patel, Satvir Kaur, and Kanishka Narayan, alongside Neena Gill, the Chair of Sikhs for Labour and former MEP. London Assembly members Unmesh Desai AM and Krupesh Hirani AM were also present.

David Lammy, reflecting on his recent trip to India, shared his vision for the Labour Party's relationship with India: "My recent journey to India was about envisioning our future relations with a superpower that enjoys an entrepreneurial and innovative spirit." He highlighted the critical importance of India, irrespective of the political landscape in either country, and stressed the need for new and vibrant candidates within the party to understand the essence of modern India. "I envision 'Labour Indians' playing a pivotal role in facilitating visits to India, thereby enhancing their understanding and connections," he continued, underlining the initiative's role in fostering deeper UK-India ties.

Hersh Thaker, a Vice-Chair of the initiative, described 'Labour Indians' as a dynamic coalition of doers. "The strength of 'Labour Indians' lies in bringing together individuals committed to building a bridge between the party and a diaspora community that makes such an important social, economic and cultural contribution to Britain. This includes fostering a positive relationship with India," Thaker stated, emphasising the initiative's proactive approach.

Satvir Kaur, the Parliamentary Candidate for Southampton Test and former Leader of Southampton City Council, captured the fundamental principles and urgent need driving this initiative, "British Indians encapsulate our country’s aspirations, hopes for a better future, and our desperate need for change. ‘Labour Indians’ will work hard to recognise and build on our collective ambitions for a better future.”

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Through organising events and leveraging social media, 'Labour Indians' seeks to engage a broad spectrum of stakeholders, working towards a Labour victory in the face of challenges such as economic downturns and healthcare delays that the British Indian community in common with others in Britain is currently facing.

Councillor Shama Tatler, Deputy Leader of Brent Council' lauded the efforts of Lammy and other senior figures in the party for their dedication to enhancing support among British Indians. "Their acknowledgment of the indispensable role of British Indians in enriching the UK's social and economic landscape is appreciated and important," Tatler remarked, highlighting the critical role of the Indian diaspora in the UK.

Dr Nikita Ved MBE of the 1928 Institute, an executive member of the initiative, spoke about the flexibility of 'Labour Indians,' describing it as a project that allows for agility and adaptation to the evolving needs of progressive British Indians. “This adaptability is key as the Labour Party seeks to repair and strengthen its ties with the Indian community.” she added.

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As Britain and India approach their general elections, 'Labour Indians' symbolises an important step towards reigniting Labour's historical connections with the Indian community and India, promising a future of mutual respect, collaboration, and shared prosperity.

Kanishka Narayan, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate in the Vale of Glamorgan, succinctly summed up the launch, saying, “This is a defining moment for the UK-India relationship. In the UK, it will be down to us, the Labour Party, to be a consistent partner and constant friend for India. I am delighted that Labour Indians will be a practical vehicle for making it happen.”

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