India counters Suella Braverman’s controversial statements about Indian migrants
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After UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s controversial statement about Indian migrants and the Free Trade Agreement which is supposed to be finalized soon, India has countered several points that she made.
Braverman was vocal about her views and said that the Migration and Mobility Partnership (MMP) did not “work very well” to which India said it had taken action on all the cases raised as per the agreement which was signed last year.
In an interview with British magazine ‘The Spectator’, Braverman pointed out that Indians make up the “largest group of people who overstay” their visas in the UK. In response, the Indian High Commission told PTI that the country expects “demonstrable progress” on certain commitments as promised by the UK Government under the MMP.
In a statement released on Thursday, the Indian High Commission wrote: ““As part of our wider discussions under Migration and Mobility, the government of India is committed to working with the government of the UK to facilitate the return of Indian citizens who have overstayed their visa period here in the UK.
“As per the data shared with the Home Office, as of date, action has been initiated on all of the cases referred to the High Commission. Further, the UK has also undertaken to fulfil certain commitments as part of the Migration and Mobility Protocol, on which we await demonstrable progress.”
The Indian-origin cabinet minister added that she had visa-related “reservations” over the proposed Free Trade Agreement being negotiated between the two countries. The Indian High Commission, however, said that such arrangements will be beneficial to both sides.
“While certain issues pertaining to Mobility and Migration are currently under discussion as part of these negotiations, any comment on these matters may not be appropriate given that the negotiations are underway, and that any arrangement will include issues of interest to both sides,” the High Commission said.
Braverman branded the FTA as an “open borders” migration policy and said that she believes that is not what Brexit voters wanted.
When questioned about her opinion on the visa flexibility for students and entrepreneurs under the India-UK FTA, she informed, “But I do have some reservations. Look at migration in this country – the largest group of people who overstay are Indian migrants.
“We even reached an agreement with the Indian government last year to encourage and facilitate better cooperation in this regard. It has not necessarily worked very well.”
Her statements have made it clear that she will likely not allow any visa concessions for India under the FTA by withholding Cabinet backing.
It has been reported that her recent statements and unwillingness to back visa concessions will lead to a clash with prime minister Liz Truss, who is looking forward to complete sign the FTA with India by Diwali which is on 24 October this year.