The British High Commission in Delhi handpicked a delegation of 13 young Indian students, all who held influential positions in the student wings of India’s national and regional political parties, to visit London. These next generation future leaders from JDU, CPI(M), JMM, CYSS, ABVP, BCJD, NSUI were invited as guests of the British Foreign and Commonwealth office for an introduction to British parliamentary procedures and people. They met with a Labour MP in the House of Commons, a Conservative representative, the Institute of Economic Affairs, the Electoral Commission and the Indian High Commission in London; they visited SOAS- Cambridge and Kings College Universities. The students were immersed in democracy and building a living bridge between India and UK.
The purpose of the visit was to support India’s reform and growth priorities, also an awareness exercise of UK’s parliamentary and governance systems, all with the aim of deepening political links and opening up new opportunities for future collaborations.
In a unique event The National Indian Students and Alumni Union (NISAU), UK’s national organisation representing Indian students, alumni and young professionals of Indian origin hosted “Ideas for India” an event celebrating the UK-India educational and youth partnership. Hosted by a Victorian 4star hotel in Hyde Park the event was sponsored by the FCO and the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan’s official agency London and Partners.
Each of the aspiring politicians had three minutes to communicate their ideas for India to their audience of peers from Manchester, Birmingham, Warwick and Oxford. The overriding immediate priorities for all students were to reform India’s education, health and infrastructure. Dreams of a truly digital India, free of caste division with youth fully employed and a competitive agricultural economy were expressed. Climate change and the fight against terrorism only got a couple of mentions, whereas foreign policy and India’s international relationships were not mentioned.
Following a lively Q&A the founding chairman of NISAU, Sanam Arora, wished the organisation a happy fifth anniversary and thanked Ramesh Arora, Managing Director of Montcalm Luxury Hotels, and Raminder Rainger CBE social reformer and philanthropist for their continued support; she said “I am absolutely delighted that some very special people such as the Rt. Hon Preet Gill, Member of Parliament for Birmingham Edgbaston; the Dame Asha Khemka, Principal of West Nottinghamshire College, Mr Anand Kumar, the Deputy Chief Executive of the Union Bank of India, Lord Meghnad Desai, Mrs Tara Naidu, Manager for UK and Europe, Air India and Mrs Mira Mishra Kaushik, the Director of Akademi, have come forth as friends of the Indian student and alumni community in Britain.”