Focus on Indo-Pacific Region: The US together with Japan and Australia, then Britain, now France. Almost overnight, it’s all now about the Indo Pacific region. This week will bring a trilateral meeting between foreign ministers of France, India and Australia with a focus on the Indo-Pacific region, on the sidelines of the Raisina Dialogue. The political meeting is due after an Indo-French naval exercise in the Bay of Bengal now under way and due to continue until Wednesday this week. This follows an official British shift to focus its international policy in the Indo-Pacific region. And that of course followed the Quad meeting between India, the US, Japan and Australia, again focused on the Indo-Pacific region. The China issue is building up just as much to the south of India as to the north.
Question Mark on India-UK Air Bubble: Who’s to say how long this air bubble between India and Britain will last. Within this bubble, a limited but packed number of flights continues to operate between India and Britain. But later this week, a flight ban is due to take effect between Britain and both Pakistan and Bangladesh, besides Kenya and the Philippines. Britain is shutting its doors to travel rapidly to stop new Covid variants coming in just as it’s getting on top of the pandemic, and opening its doors and shops to let in some normalcy. With cases rising in many countries around the world, and in much of Europe, Britain is looking to preserve itself as an island of normalcy in a Covid-infested world. To do that it would have to do a New Zealand. Britain is not there yet.
Eye on Building Ties: With British Prime Minister Boris Johnson due to visit India later this month, India is making it firmly clear that it’s not seeking to build ties with Britain at the expense of the European Union. Prime Minister Modi is due to visit Portugal on May 8 for an India-EU summit next month, just about a week after Boris Johnson’s visit to India. Modi is due to follow up the EU meet with a bilateral visit to France. Modi last visited France in 2019 for the G7 summit. The Indian PM will be visiting Britain soon enough after his European visit, though, to attend the G7 summit due in Britain in June.
Vrooming Ahead: Jaguar Land Rover is getting busy on both lanes – to India and from. The British company is owned by India-based Tata, and now plans to develop more luxury cars in Britain too for the Indian market. So whether these are finally British or Indian cars is open to a little popular interpretation. A fully electric SUV developed by the Indian-owned British car maker has already been introduced in the Indian market. Now ten other JLR models could be on the highway to India.
Fertility Analysis: A report published by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority points to some worrying tendencies among minority groups in Britain. The report suggests that some minority groups undergoing fertility treatment have significantly poorer chances than do white people. The success rate is reported to be lowest among black people. But the percentage of South Asians seeking fertility treatment is highest – 14 percent while they are 7 percent of the population. But while doctors seek to overcome obstacles, fertility treatment is steadily on the rise in Britain.