Narendra Modi and David Cameron are playing politics in a globalised world
Long ago there were two countries whose destinies were intertwined by history. Britain’s rule helped make India into a modern nation. India’s wealth and military manpower sustained Britain as a superpower. Admiration and rationality, as well as condescension and racism, characterised a complex relationship which seemed so intimate that many expected it to continue in some form after the sun set on empire.
But those two countries no longer exist. The still mighty Britain that emerged from the war against Germany and Japan has become the modest and puzzled United Kingdom of today, while in India the valuable, if very different, legacies of Gandhi and Nehru have lost potency as political change has brought to the fore men and ideas marginal in 1947, when independence was achieved. Given this alteration in circumstances, it is odd that so much hyperbole, on both sides, should accompany the Indian prime minister’s visit to London.
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