United Kingdom Indian-origin Home Secretary Priti Patel has said that discussions are underway for a new tailored post-Brexit partnership with India in the field of youth mobility, which would involve a two-way flow of students and experts between the two countries.
Patel, as the senior Cabinet minister behind the UK’s new points-based system of visas and immigration, said that the vision is to have several tailored arrangements on student and youth exchanges to serve the Global Britain agenda.
“We are in the process of developing our Turing programme and there are discussions on right now for a bespoke partnership with India on youth mobility as well,” Patel said, during a virtual interaction with the Conservative Friends of India (CFIN) diaspora group.
The minister said the move formed part of a wider “revolutionary” approach to talent flows, which has been possible as a result of Brexit and led to a "fundamental change" to the UK’s visas and immigration policy that is underpinned by technology.
Addressing questions from Conservative Party members from different parts of the UK during the interaction, Patel said the UK-India relationship was finally on a path of acceleration after being allowed to go backwards for some time.
“I think it is fair to say we went backwards on UK-India but we are now accelerating and moving forward. Our wonderful Prime Minister [Boris Johnson] has a wonderful personal relationship with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has been invited to the UK for the G7 summit in June,” said Patel.
“We are working with India on rebalancing this Indo-Pacific tilt and rules-based international system, at a time when China has done a great deal to undermine democratic values and freedoms. That also speaks to our Global Britain agenda and Britain as a force for good in the world,” she said, adding that India as a country was very “personal” to her.
“Prime Minister Modi is a fellow Gujarati and a fantastic leader. I’m very keen to go to India. When we are released from lockdown and when there are better days ahead, I will definitely be going,” she said.
As a senior Conservative Party member of Parliament for Witham in Essex, south-east England, Patel also called on members of the Indian diaspora in Britain to get involved with politics at the grassroots level as a form of public service.
“Politics is about public service and putting people first. That should be our compass and we need to be prepared to fight for things that we believe are right,” she said, in her message to prospective parliamentary candidates from the Conservative Party.