The Prime Minister has insisted leaving the EU would allow Britain to find other partners abroad and India, the world’s fastest growing major economy, was the first country she visited, accompanied by a large business delegation, outside Europe after the referendum.
Boris Johnson has flown in to Delhi to meet members of the government, business leaders and, he hopes, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Foreign Secretary is due to explain the UK’s position on Brexit and stress how leaving the EU offers further commercial and industrial opportunities for the two countries.
EU single market and customs union, India’s new high commissioner to the UK commented that the issue of the visas is not going to go away. Yashvardhan Kumar Sinha contrasted the stance taken by Britain with other countries on admitting students and workers from fields like IT into the country.
“In the field of education we have a bit of a problem. We have countries like US, Australia, Germany and France who are actively going on to campuses in India to try and attract students there”, he said. “The numbers in these countries have gone up significantly, but for the UK it has actually fallen quite a lot. There is something going wrong here because the UK has obviously been the first preference for Indian students. We need to see how we can ensure that the UK gets or attracts good students from India. Indian students are doing extremely well wherever they go.”
the high commissioner also said “of course Brexit is a challenge but I see it more as an opportunity. Indian companies and businesses are looking forward to engaging more closely with their British counterpart. There is good economic engagement between the two countries and that is why we need to talk about the visa situation.”
But the chance of the visa regulations being relaxed seems remote. Ms May, as home secretary was responsible for tightening the visa regime and, at the time of her visit to India last November she declared that the current system will not be changed. “Trade is an important part of our relationship with India. India is the third-biggest investor into the UK – the second biggest creator of private sector jobs in the UK; and the UK is the biggest G20 investor in India,