India-UK Relations

India-UK relations also known as Indian–British relations refer to international relations between India and the United Kingdom. Both countries are full members of the Commonwealth of Nations.

In this article, we shall discuss at length the relations between India and the United Kingdom in terms of trade, bilateral relations, political engagement, defence, investments, etc. This is an important topic from the IAS Exam perspective as questions based on the same may be asked under International relations. 

India-UK Relations [UPSC Notes]:-Download PDF Here

Aspirants can refer to the links below and read about India’s relations with other countries:

Bilateral Relations

  • India and the United Kingdom share a modern partnership bound by strong historical ties
  • India’s multifaceted bilateral relationship with the UK intensified with its up-gradation to a Strategic Partnership in 2004
  • A Joint Declaration titled ‘India-UK: towards a new and dynamic partnership’ which envisages annual Summits and regular meetings between Foreign Ministers
  • Civil nuclear energy, space, defence, combating terrorism, economic ties, science & technology, education and culture are the areas of cooperative relations between India and UK
  • The UK supports India’s proposal for permanent membership of the UNSC and is also an important interlocutor for India in the European Union (EU), Group of Eight (G-8), G20 and global contexts

Know about India’s role in the G20 Summit at the linked article. 

Political Relations 

  • India and UK are bound by strong ties of history and culture. 
  • India has a high commission in London and two consulates-general in Birmingham and Edinburgh. The United Kingdom has a high commission in New Delhi and five deputy high commissions in Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Kolkata.
  • The United Kingdom has an Indian population of over 1.5 million
  • Both countries are also members of the World Trade Organization and the Asian Development Bank
  • Three Presidents of India have paid state visits to the United Kingdom: Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan in June 1963, Ramaswamy Venkataraman in October 1990, and Pratibha Patil in 2009
  • Indian Prime Ministers including Manmohan Singh and Narendra Modi have also paid a visit to the country during their tenures as the PM of India
  • Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom paid state visits to India in November 1963, April 1990, and in October 1997
  • There have been regular exchanges of visits at the Prime Ministerial level since the Strategic Partnership in 2004

Read more about Bilateral Relations of India at the linked article. 

Economic Relations

  • The economic and commerce matters are guided based on the institutionalised dialogues of India-UK Joint Economic & Trade Committee, Economic and Financial Dialogue and India-UK Financial Partnership
  • The growth of India’s multinational companies contributed greatly to UK’s business and economy. As of 2019, Indian companies in the UK generated over 48 billion pounds
  • In September 2017 the High Commission of India in the UK, with the support of the UK India Business Council, announced the Access India Programme, a unique scheme set up to help many more UK SMEs export to India

Trade Relations

  • The UK is among India’s major trading partners and during the year 2016-17, the UK ranked 15th in the list of India’s top 25 trading partners
  • As per trade statistics of MoC&I, India’s trade with the UK in 2017-2018 was the US $14.497 billion
  • The main products of export from India to the UK include:
Articles of apparel & Clothing Accessories Power Generating Machinery & Equipment
Petroleum and related products Manufactured articles Textile Yarn
Footwear Medicinal and Pharmaceutical Manufactures of metal
Road Vehicles Transport Equipment
  • The main products of import from UK to India include:
Power Generating Machinery & Equipment Non-Ferrous Metals Ferrous ores & Metal scrap
General Industrial Machinery and Equipment & Machines Beverages Electrical Machinery and Appliances
Professional, Scientific and controlling instruments and appliances Chemical materials & products

UPSC aspirants can also learn more about India-US Trade Relations at the linked article. 

India-UK Relations – Investment 

  • UK is the 4th largest inward investor in India, after Mauritius, Singapore and Japan with a cumulative equity investment of US $26.09 billion (April 2000-June 2018)
  • It accounts for about 7% of all foreign direct investment into India
  • As per the data released in 2018, India was  the third-largest investor in the UK and emerged as the second-largest international job creator with Indian companies having created over 110,000 jobs in the UK
  • As of December 2018, the total consolidated revenue of Indian companies in the UK is £47.5 billion with the technical and telecom sector accounting for 31% with the pharmaceuticals and chemicals sector mapping 24% of the India-tracker

Educational Relations between India and UK

  • The UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI) was launched in 2005 with a focus on higher education and research, schools and professional and technical skills
  • Joint Working Group on Education, Newton-Bhabha Fund and Scholarship schemes are some other educational initiatives by the two countries for maintaining the bilateral relationship
  • During the visit of the Prime Minister to the UK in November 2015, the following announcements relating to education were made:
    • 2016 was announced as the UK-India year of Education, Research and Innovation
    • Virtual partnerships would be initiated at the school level to enable young
    • People of one country to experience the school system of the other
    • Country and develop an understanding of the culture, traditions and social and family systems
    • UK’s plans for 25,000 UK students to go to India through the Generation UK- India programme by 2020, including 1000 UK interns with Tata Consultancy Services in India by 2020
    • Launch of the 3rd phase of the UK India Education and Research Initiative
  • UK also supports the Skills India Mission and announced a fresh commitment of up to £12 million

Cultural Links between India and the United Kingdom

  • India and UK signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Cultural Cooperation in July 2010
  • The Nehru Centre (TNC), established in 1992 in London, is the cultural outreach of the High Commission of India in UK. It organises a wide range of cultural functions at its premises
  • There has been a gradual mainstreaming of Indian culture and absorption of Indian cuisine, cinema, languages, religion, philosophy, performing arts, etc.
  • A Midnight Freedom Run was organized in London by the High Commission of India in the midnight hours of August 14-15, 2017 to commemorate of 70 years of India’s independence
What was the 2017 UK-India Year of Culture?

The Queen hosted a grand reception at Buckingham Palace in February 2017 to launch the activities under the Year of Culture, a special Independence Gala event which was held at the Royal Festival Hall on 4 October 2017.

It was attended by Late Arun Jaitley as a representative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

India-UK Relations – Defense 

Cooperation in the defence sector is another important pillar of bilateral cooperation. During Prime Minister’s visit to the UK in November 2015, the two countries agreed to elevate their Defence relationship by establishing capability partnerships in strategic areas. 

At all the three services level, joint exercises and wide-ranging exchanges between the three services are conducted regularly. 

Indians in the United Kingdom

As of January 2013, the Parliament of UK has 8 Indian origin MPs and 24 Indian-origin Lords. In addition, there are over 180 Indian origin Councillors elected to Councils across UK.

The Indian Diaspora in UK is one of the largest ethnic minority communities in the country, with the 2011 census recording approximately 1.5 million people of Indian origin in the UK equating to almost 1.8 percent of the population and contributing 6% of the country’s GDP. 

India-UK Relations [UPSC Notes]:-Download PDF Here

Candidates can get the detailed UPSC Syllabus for the upcoming Civil Services Exam at the linked article. 

For the latest exam updates and study material, visit BYJU’S for expert assistance.

Frequently Asked Questions on India-UK Relations

Q 1. What is the status of the Indian diaspora in the United Kingdom?

Ans. As per the data released by the Ministry of External Affairs in April 2021, The Indian Diaspora in the UK is one of the largest ethnic minority communities in the country, including approximately 1.6 million British nationals of Indian origin and about 3,51,000 NRIs living in the UK.

Q 2. What is DSIP?

Ans. India and the UK signed the Defence and International Security Partnership (DISP) in November 2015 to provide a strategic roadmap and direction to the evolving India-UK Defence Relations.

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