Indian trade should focus on continental Europe and Japan, not UK – Gautam Sen

Dr. Gautam Sen“There is grave British anxiety that India is no longer willing to play ball whatever is said publicly by its politicians and bureaucrats. India’s preferred partners in Europe now are France and Germany though Italy seems to have bribed its way into the fray owing to the accident of history that handed India on a platter to someone who cannot abandon its nationality! By contrast, Britain has, dishonourably as always, chosen as its rightful partner the monstrosity of Pakistan it sponsored in 1947, in a devious attempt to retain a toehold in the Indian subcontinent.” Dr. Gautam Sen

British PM Cameron at Jallianwala BaghBritain’s vast last nineteenth century capital exports, right up to the First World War, were financed by trade surpluses with India. Indeed, there is a sustainable argument that continental European industrialization was a significant beneficiary of British investments that originated in Indian trade deficits. These deficits were substantially generated by imperialist British economic policy and the absence of active intervention by the colonial power to promote industrialization in its Indian colony. On the contrary, India was first a victim of British trade discrimination in the eighteenth century, followed by free trade imperialism in the nineteenth once Britain had gained economic ascendancy in critical sectors like textiles. The sovereign countries of continental Europe did not succumb to self-serving British nonsense about free trade and universally adopted Friedrich List’s prescription in favour of trade discrimination and state promotion of domestic industry. 

Now the world has come full circle, and David Cameron arrived cap in hand to independent India, making duplicitous apologies about events that no longer matter. On crucial questions like advancing Pakistan’s interests in Afghanistan and elsewhere, at this very moment, there was stony silence. Nor was there an expression of regret for the humiliation inflicted on India’s foreign minister at an earlier London conference on Afghanistan, sponsored by the British Foreign Office. The Indian foreign minister was pointedly seated at the rear of the proceedings despite India’s huge financial contribution to the country and vital interest in its future. So long as terrorism originating in AfPak mainly troubles India, Anglo-American concerns will apparently be assuaged. Perhaps the slippery visitor might have also been asked to explain why former foreign secretary David Miliband ingratiated himself with alacrity in 2011 with the fascists now ruling China. The mutt loftily declared that key provisions of the 1914 Simla Accord on the Indo-Tibetan border were invalid despite having no locus standi in the matter. Perfidy is apparently in the blood. 

Camerons at Faisal Mosque in IslamabadThere is grave British anxiety that India is no longer willing to play ball whatever is said publicly by its politicians and bureaucrats. India’s preferred partners in Europe now are France and Germany though Italy seems to have bribed its way into the fray owing to the accident of history that handed India on a platter to someone who cannot abandon its nationality! By contrast, Britain has, dishonourably as always, chosen as its rightful partner the monstrosity of Pakistan it sponsored in 1947, in a devious attempt to retain a toehold in the Indian subcontinent. If there was any doubt on this historical fact, demonstrated by the likes of former Indian ambassador C. Dasgupta and Narindra Singh Sarila in their admirably researched books, it has recently been reaffirmed, chapter and verse, by Mark Curtis in Secret Affairs: Britain’s Collusion with Radical Islam (Serpent’s Tail, 2012). Indeed, Pakistan will remain a lever in British attempts to influence India, a remnant of its colonial racial pride; something an encounter with the British police will affirm in seconds to a non-white person. The British establishment will also act on behalf of China and, possibly, the US, itself ever opportunistic and unpredictable. All three remain potential adversaries of India despite all public comment to the contrary and supposed common interests in a changed post-Cold War world. 

Britain’s economy remains in serious trouble, as low-wage Asian workers eliminate it from manufacturing. The likelihood of a Hecksher-Ohlin-Samuelson reprise in its economic skills through advanced innovation and high value-added services seems unlikely because intellectual property is hard to protect and Asians have already demonstrated their ability to rise to the challenge in these areas of economic activity, supposedly outside their reach. British education is in a parlous condition, with the state system beyond redemption, quite unable to match Asian levels of attainment in the sciences and mathematics. But there is endless waffle about nothing very much, while insane attempts to advance equality only result in grim levelling of all education. It means the gifted are maliciously held back though the poor performers fail to advance despite it. This week will be a moment of reckoning for Britain, with a ratings downgrade by Moody’s threatening to expose all the sins of London’s history of global financial criminality. An exchange rate collapse is possible and even higher levels of inflation that will reduce already depressed living standards even further. 

China and Pakistan have good military relation and a common hatred of IndiaIndian policy-makers were right to decline the Euro-fighter with its American components and the possibility of Britain holding back spares at some crucial moment during an encounter with China and its vicious ally, Pakistan. China and Pakistan enjoy highly privileged relations with the British establishment, second only to its shamefully unctuous engagement with the United States. However, India is regarded as a stupid milch cow that will endure all humiliation, unable to even comprehend the duplicity being served up to it. India happens to have been the largest single investor in London in the recent past, but those investments and fifty subsidized places at the hallowed London School of Economics, beholden to Arab and, increasingly, Chinese lucre, will hardly transform Britain’s long history of adversarial attitudes towards it. And should anyone visit areas like the Borough of Camden in Central London, run by some of Britain’s most venal politicians and the incompetent, arrogant bureaucracy, engaging with continental Europe and Japan will always turn out to be the wiser option for India. – NewsInsight, 25 February 2013

» Dr Gautam Sen has taught Political Economy at the London School of Economics.

Gwadar Port in Pakistan is now under Chinese control.