David Cameron In India: why I'm going to India

Sunday, September 03, 2006

why I'm going to India

Tonight I'll arrive in India for the first time in seven years, and I’m sure it's going to be a fantastic trip. I'm going for a simple reason: India matters so much in the modern world.

It's the largest democracy on the planet, its economy is growing fast, and India is an incredibly diverse society with people of many cultures and religions living together...for example, India has the world’s second largest Muslim population. People are free to be Indian and Muslim, or Indian and Sikh, or Indian and Hindu, without any contradiction.

We in Britain should be especially interested in the huge changes going on in India. We share so many ties, particularly the many people of Indian origin who live in Britain and make an enormous contribution to it.

Our relationship with India goes deep. But I think it can and should go deeper. Our special relationship with America is well known. But as the world’s centre of gravity moves from Europe and the Atlantic to the south and the east, I think it's time for Britain and India to forge a new special relationship for the twenty-first century.

For too long, politics in this country has been obsessed with Europe and America. Of course these relationships are, and will continue to be, vital. But serious and responsible leadership today means engaging with much more energy in the parts of the world where our strategic interests will increasingly lie.

That’s why George Osborne, who will be joining me in India, spent last week meeting the next generation of leaders in Japan. It's why William Hague and Liam Fox are in China this week. In an ever-more connected world, we can't afford to ignore the forces shaping it.