This has nothing to do with the anointment of Rishi Sunak as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom yesterday (25 October).
What stands out about his election, though, is the country’s economic desperation, which forced the beleaguered Conservative Party to seek him out as a possible answer to its political problems.
Whether he succeeds or not in rescuing the economy, Britain appears ripe for higher Indian diplomatic and economic focus.
India has been slow to realise that it holds some good cards in how it can deal with the world on its own terms, and the UK may well be the first (of many) opportunities coming our way.
After Brexit, the country has been scrounging around for trade deals with the US and India, and only the latter looks likely.
Sunak also needs to show that he can cut fiscal deficits to calm the markets and yet provide compassionate support to the poor who are worst impacted by rising inflation and a possible recession.
Post Brexit, Britain is less useful to the US as a NATO ally, and military power will probably shift towards the continent, with France and Germany as drivers of future European defence development and production.
There is no earthly reason why Britain needs to spend so much on defence, and when there is actually no threat to it militarily.
Even assuming Russia is a current threat, the onus is on Germany and eastern European countries to defend the continent, no doubt with US support. But after Ukraine, Russia will be a diminished power anyway.
On the other hand, the only logical place for Britain to find savings is in the defence budget.
The country is currently focusing on raising defence spending to 2.5-3 per cent of GDP (gross domestic product) by 2030.
Currently, the British defence budget is around 2.2 per cent of GDP.
It would be fiscal madness to try and achieve this when the population is suffering.
The point really is: outside its NATO obligations, why exactly does the UK need such a large defence budget, unless the spending is related to its own exaggerated sense of being a global power?
This is where India could come in, though there might be strong resistance from an Anglo-Saxon elite that looks to America for cues on strategic matters.
Along with a trade deal, India should be proposing a strategic defence tie-up, which could include partnership for design, development and co-production by Indian and British defence firms.
Most of design and development work can be done by engineers in India, overseen by British bosses.
While India will surely benefit, Britain gets two major advantages: the cost of development and production will come down drastically if India is the partner.
And two, this cut in costs will enable the country to spend the money saved on social safety nets during and after the current economic crisis.
For this to happen, Britain has only to swallow its pride and work in its own best interests.
The precedent for this partnership is the Indo-Russian joint venture for developing and producing the BrahMos cruise missile, which is capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
This joint venture is 50.5-49.5 owned by India and Russia, respectively, and could provide a template for an Indo-British defence partnership in defence.
The Tatas have been key players in UK manufacturing after the acquisition of Corus Steel and Jaguar-Land Rover (JLR), and even today Tata Consultancy Services is considered that country’s No 1 employer.
So, a larger Indian role in the British economy is hardly a new thing.
The challenge is to extend it to defence. From BAE Systems to British Aerospace, India has partners to pick from.
If the Tatas can own JLR and use some of that knowledge to produce better cars in India, surely the same should apply in defence.
To be sure, France, Israel and Russia will continue to be our most reliable defence partners, but Britain is an option now. Not because of Sunak, but because the UK is politically and economically vulnerable, and so is the Conservative Party running it now.
We should strike while this stage persists. If Labour wins the next elections, such a deal may be more difficult.
Labour is more congenitally anti-India than the Conservatives.
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