India and UK look to ‘bottle up’ trade pact: India is reportedly considering a swap of clothes for whisky in the Free Trade Agreement being negotiated with the UK. Britain has long wanted India to cut its tariff on Scotch whisky from its present 150 per cent. India is the world’s third-largest market for Scotch, after France and the US. It imports about 95 million 750ml bottles of Scotch every year. In return, India is asking for more access to textile and apparel exports to the UK. Whether there is a corresponding hunger for these is far from clear.
An unlikely alliance: India is finding China an important ally in talks leading up to the climate change summit due in Glasgow in November this year. India and China together are the leading countries resisting the call from Western democracies in phasing coal out altogether. India has gone a step ahead of China here by boycotting the two-day ministerial meeting held this week to work out a blueprint ahead of the summit. But China and India both resisted the call at the G20 meet in Naples earlier and are expected to do so again.
Law for British MPs stumps Indian lawmakers: Precedents and rules set for British parliamentarians are coming back to bite Indian MPs and MLAs following a recent Supreme Court of India judgment that passed an order limiting the privileges of India’s elected legislators. The law focuses on privileges members enjoy within the House. So the law as it now stands is that “a person committing a criminal offence within the precincts of the House does not hold an absolute privilege. Instead, he would possess a qualified privilege and would receive the immunity only if the action bears nexus to the effective participation of the member in the House.” The Supreme Court noted that this order arises from rulings in place for members of the House of Commons. That follows the fact that British MPs have not always been on their best behaviour either.
Covid kills influential British-Indian leader: This has been a sad week for losing stalwarts in the British Indian community. Lallubhai Parekh, the affable one-man face of the BJP in Britain for long, has died at the age of 88 after Covid-related illness. He had migrated to the UK from Tanzania in 1971. He ran a post office in Central London at first and then launched into the property business. But he was known as a man much liked and trusted by BJP stalwarts such as Atal Bihari Vajpayee and then LK Advani. But right up to the last he remained a staunch, and active, BJP faithful.
NHS champion Dr Kailash Chand dies: The renowned Dr Kailash Chand who spent many years campaigning strongly on issues affecting the National Health Service, has died aged 73. He was a strong critic of the government’s handling of Covid last year and again right up to the lifting of restrictions currently. Dr Chand died at home on Monday this week after suffering a cardiac arrest. Dr Chand worked as a GP in Manchester. He became the first Asian to be elected vice-president of the British Medical Association. Manchester mayor Andy Burnham and former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn are among many to have joined in paying tributes to Dr Chand.