2022: Uproar leading to Britain’s first Indian-origin Prime Minister | Daily News Byte

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A politically and economically tumultuous 2022 marked a historic first for the UK as Indian-origin Rishi Sunak took charge at 10 Downing Street as the country’s first non-white Prime Minister.

At 42, the British Indian leader is also the youngest in 200 years and set his stall firmly in favor of India soon after being elected leader of the Conservative Party on Diwali.

“The Prime Minister said that he is a visual representation of the historic relationship between the UK and India, and intends to build on this relationship to develop an even closer relationship between our two countries,” Downing Street said in a readout of Sunak’s initial phone call with Prime. Minister Narendra Modi.

He came close to concluding the much-anticipated India-UK Free Trade Agreement (FTA) that was abandoned just days before his former Partygate scandal-hit boss Boris Johnson’s Diwali deadline. Sunak has since announced that the UK is “delivering a new FTA with India”, with a sixth round of negotiations in New Delhi this month.

The political upheaval started by his predecessor Liz Truss – the UK’s shortest-serving prime minister was forced to resign following a disastrous unfunded mini-budget – reverberated in bilateral relations when his home secretary, Suella Braverman, threw FTA talks into disarray. With unfair attacks on Indians as “Visa Overstayers”.

Sunak’s re-appointment of his fellow Indian-origin colleague to the same position in his cabinet was accompanied by some welcome moves, including the launch of the UK-India Young Professionals Scheme shortly after the first meeting between Prime Minister Sunak and Modi at the G20 summit. Indonesia.

“I am delighted that even more of India’s brightest young people will now have the opportunity to experience all that life in the UK has to offer – and vice versa – further enriching our economy and society,” Sunak declared in a reciprocal reference. The scheme will be launched in early 2023. It will allow degree-educated Indians aged 18-30 to obtain visas to live and work in the UK for up to two years annually, with a similar offer for British graduates. It is one of the many highlights for Indian students in the UK, overtaking China for the first time as the largest group of international students. However, as migration numbers rise, there are growing murmurs of a holdover from international students, which education chiefs have warned will be an issue on the 2023 watch list.

The reinstatement of the UK in the list of countries offering expedited e-visas for tourists was another major outcome of the Modi-Sunak bilateral meeting, which was confirmed by India’s new High Commissioner to the UK – Vikram Doraiswamy, who also became the first Indian diplomat to present his credentials to King Charles III. became

The new king ascended the throne on September 8 after the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth II – Britain’s longest-serving monarch – which sparked worldwide mourning and saw thousands queuing for days to pay their respects. She lay in state at Westminster Hall in London.

President Draupadi Murmu represented India at the Queen’s state funeral at Westminster Abbey in London, followed by a ceremonial burial at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle.

Charles has since resumed the duties of king and will be formally crowned at a grand coronation ceremony scheduled for May 6, 2023.

While her son and heir, Prince William, will be by her side, her younger son Harry will play the role of ‘Harry and Meghan’. It came in the wake of the resignation of a senior Buckingham Palace aide following the race row, a rare intervention condemned by the palace to say “racism has no place in our society”.

While the year was dominated by turmoil, there were also moments of celebration – including the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in June and the 75th anniversary of India’s independence, highlighted by the docking of the naval ship INS Taringini on the shores of England for Independence Day. Festivals in August.

Geetanjali Sri made history as the first Indian author to win the International Booker Prize for her Hindi novel ‘Rate Samadhi’/Tomb of Sand’ and India’s Greenhouse-in-a-Box sustainable agriculture project won Prince William’s GBP 1-million Earthshot Prize. For 2022.

Meanwhile, the ongoing battle to extradite economic offenders wanted for fraud and money laundering in India moved slowly through the UK legal system.

Fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi, wanted in an estimated USD 2 billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) loan scam case, has lost a major appeal against his extradition on mental health grounds and is set to be extradited next month. However, delays are expected if Modi makes a human rights appeal in Europe or applies for asylum as in the case of former Kingfisher Airlines chief Vijay Mallya, who is believed to be trapped in the UK’s confidential asylum process.

Sanjay Bhandari, wanted for tax evasion and money laundering, also continues to appeal against his extradition granted by Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London.

Overall, Collins Dictionary’s Word of the Year “permacrisis” – an extended period of instability and insecurity – best describes 2022 given the ongoing cost of political upheaval and crisis in life following the war in Ukraine and the Covid pandemic.

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