It has been announced that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will host a special reception at Buckingham Palace to launch the UK – India Year of Culture. It is also the seventieth anniversary of India gaining independence from the UK. Speaking at a reception the Indian High Commissioner, Y K Sinha, said that the two events go hand in hand and that India is very honoured by Her Majesty’s decision to start off the year with a reception at Buckingham Palace.
This announcement comes in the same week that Prime Minister, Theresa May, commented in a speech that the Queen had invited the new American President, Donald Trump to this country for a State Visit. The Buckingham Palace reception will likely be around the end of February, earlier than the President’s visit.
As with so many interactions between the United Kingdom and other countries currently, the situation post-Brexit is brought sharply into focus. The bilateral trade between the two countries is currently worth almost $20million per year, and that was described by the High Commissioner as being the “tip of the iceberg”. We have seen for examples the continuing negotiations with Tata Steel over their involvement with the UK steel industry which will hopefully bring positive news in the coming months. The High Commissioner continued: “With the United Kingdom exiting the European Union (EU), I think the time has come for India and UK to again re-engage to strengthen our economic engagement”.
The UK government was also represented at the event, the guest of honour was Nick Hurd, Minister for Climate Change and Industry, he is the son of the former Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd (now Lord Hurd of Westwell). He commented: “It is also an opportunity to celebrate the long-standing ties between our governments, at the heart of this relationship is our people to people ties or to use Prime Minister Modi’s phrase, the ‘living bridge’ that connects our two countries. The Indian diaspora plays a crucial role in deepening UK- India links. We are committed to harnessing our natural ties and making this an enduring partnership”.
As a link to the Year of Culture, the reception will also feature displays of dancing from several states across India.