Interaction with the British High Commissioner to India
Printer-friendly versionSend to friend

Vivekananda International Foundation hosted an interaction with the British High Commissioner to India, Sir James David Bevan KCMG, on 8th January 2014. The interaction was chaired by Vice Adm. (Retd) K. K. Nayyar and included retired senior officials, leading thinkers and strategists from the country’s diplomatic, intelligence and armed services.

The main topic of discussion was the state of relations between India and the UK with particular reference to the issues of trade, economy, security, education and tourism. The High Commissioner described these issues in detail during his brief introductory presentation. Referring to the centuries old relation between the two nations, Sir James highlighted the fact that the two nations have a shared history over the last few centuries, similar bureaucracy, shared and strong belief in the virtues of democracy and human rights. He underlined the gradual increase in cooperation between the two nations on global challenges of climate change and energy security. The High Commissioner argued that the relationship is flourishing at present, with manifold increase in joint investments on projects of science and technology, trade and people-to-people exchanges though more is needed to be done to realize the potential for trade. He also stressed the need to do more in enhancing the level of educational exchanges between the two nations. Another critical area for further cooperation was that of our foreign policy, especially with regard to the geo-political concerns which India and the UK mutually share.

The presentation also covered the emerging challenges in Afghanistan. The High Commisioner mentioned the critical importance of Afghanistan, for the stability of the region, Afghanistan’s own future, and the British investments in that country. He assured the audience that the UK would continue to support Afghanistan via means of finances, technical assistance, institutional and governance advisory, and training of officers from the police and the armed services. Assessing the prospects of Afghanistan post-2014, the High Commissioner presented an optimistic view, taking into account the progress which Afghan society has made in the last decade. Growth in GDP, which had seen a ten-fold increase, improving standards of performance of the Afghan National Army (ANA), increase in the levels of education of young Afghan boys and girls, and commercial boom observed in cities, were some of the factors contributing to the High Commissioner’s view that the democratic structure of Afghanistan with support provided by the international community would have a strong chance of surviving the struggle with the radical forces post-drawdown. The High Commissioner mentioned that India with its historical ties with the Afghans and as a major democratic nation must assist Afghanistan; the UK would have no reservations against any contribution which India makes towards stabilizing the nation – on the contrary, it would welcome such efforts.

The session was then thrown open for interaction, with participants raising questions and sharing views on a variety of issues ranging from the British approach to the political turmoil in Bangladesh to the matter of the coming referendum on Scottish Independence.

Event Date 
January 8, 2014
Contact Us