LONDON: After four and a half years of drama, Boris Johnson has done what many said was impossible. He won a whopping mandate, took Britain out of the EU, as people had voted for in 2016 and secured a deal that Brexiteers and all lovers of liberty can unite around. Brexit represents a victory for the will of the people over that of a reluctant political class facing the ire of a narrow but influential metropolitan elite far removed from the pulse of the nation. The UK economy is already predicted to outstrip the whole of Europe for the next 15 years. If the EU continues its current imposition of bureaucratic socialism on Europe, further wars of independence would soon follow.
The world needs to recognise the success of PM Boris Johnson. He threw his lot with Brexiteers in 2016, ensured, especially in the past few months, to cut through the bureaucratic mess of the EU, and proven his understanding of statecraft by finally obtaining a deal. Churchill was a hard figure to understand. So is Boris. Despite the many enemies of the democratic will of the British public including derision of those in his own party, he has managed to do what no one else save perhaps for his hero Churchill could have done.
Brits can enter 2021 with heads held high. What wonderful days lay ahead for Britain and all those who associate with this 21st century Anglosphere in the making! Lessons from history are valuable in this regard. British heroes from Wellington to Churchill and Orwell spent their formative years in India—what stops us from claiming them as our very own? They shaped the very way of British thinking. Indophile Boris has consistently supported India and strived to strengthen this key strategic relationship. PM Johnson’s first major bilateral visit since taking office and the first since Britain’s departure from the EU was to have been to India, but the pandemic situation in the country led to its postponement to a more propitious time.
The trip was intended to kick off a significant year for Global Britain on the world stage. The post-Brexit tilt to the Indo-Pacific is to feature prominently in the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy due to be published this month, a document set to re-define Britain’s place in world; the largest of its kind since the Cold War.
Boris wants to transform the G7 group of leading industrialised nations at its forthcoming summit in London into a broader grouping with India, Australia and South Korea to form 10 leading democracies capable of challenging Communist China. We must rekindle our historical ties with the UK and ensure that Turkey with whom Britain has already signed a free trade deal and the traditionally Anglophile and free countries of the Middle East must remain key allies in this partnership. Boris has signalled his clear geopolitical priority for India by visiting India multiple times and consistently supporting India at the international stage. A free trade agreement is top of the list and in the past, Boris has offered to address Indian concerns on various issues as part of a comprehensive deal. Again we must turn to history for guidance: When the hero of the battle of Waterloo, Lord Wellington was asked how difficult it was to deal with Napoleon, he is recorded to have replied, “Not as tough in negotiation as Nana Phadnavis”. There we have it!
Ravi Kandamath is a lawyer and public-affairs consultant based in London.