Both India and Japan are joyous after a landslide victory of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party in Thursday’s general election, with Britain’s exit from the EU without an agreement now likely to be avoided.
In a message sent to Johnson on Friday, PM Shinzo Abe congratulated the British counterpart on his election win and said he is happy to be able to continue working with him.
Britain now seems to be on course to achieve a smooth exit from the EU, and Japan wishes to start working with Britain soon on building a new bilateral economic cooperation, Abe added.
In a speech in Tokyo on Friday, Abe said, “Now we have greater chances of predicting what course Britain will take in its withdrawal from the EU.”
There had been concerns in the Japanese government and the business community that a no-deal Brexit could negatively impact Japanese organizations in Britain. Such a development could cause turbulence in customs procedures and logistics between Britain and EU member countries.
“We have requested the United Kingdom and the European Union to avoid a no-deal Brexit and minimize the impact on operations by Japanese firms,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said. “We will scrutinise how things develop and take the required steps.”
“With the election outcome, Britain has shown a clear direction, so we can move forward on diplomatic work,” a Foreign Ministry official said. Japan’s business community has also expressed relief. “We’re relieved for now” as the general election result suggests that a no-deal Brexit will be avoided, Hiroaki Nakanishi, chairman of the Japan Business Federation the country’s biggest business lobby, said in a statement Friday.
After India scrapped special status to Jammu and Kashmir, the United Kingdom chose to remain silent acknowledging that it was an internal matter of India. UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab said that he had spoken to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and understood the situation on ground.
He, however, said that the UK was anxious about the situation in the Valley and called for peace. Compare this with Jeremy Corbyn’s hardened stand and antagonistic move of passing a resolution.
Corbyn’s party passed a resolution seeking “international intervention in Kashmir and a call for UN led-referendum”. The resolution denounced India’s move and called on the party to “clearly and vocally support the Kashmiri people’s right to self-determination and for international observers to be sent to the region immediately”. All this happened under the leadership of Corbyn.
Corbyn again brought back Kashmir in his agenda. Labour party stated that it would arbitrate in what it calls one of the world’s most disputed territories. Every stand that Corbyn took in the context of Kashmir or Article 370 went contradictory to India’s stand globally on these matters.
All these efforts failed in the election as the powerful Indian diaspora expressed disappointment over the position taken by Corbyn and threatened to cut all ties with his Labour Party.
Following India’s move on Kashmir, there were some choreographed protests against India and its High Commission in London. The British government was strongly reprimanded for allowing Pakistan-backed forces to build anti-India feelings.
The current PM Boris Johnson, however, made it clear that he was not ‘anti-Hindu’ and rejected ‘anti-India’ sentiments in the UK. Boris Johnson maintains good relations with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Just before going to polls, Johnson visited a Hindu temple to attract the India diaspora and made an important remark about the Indian PM: “I know Prime Minister Modi is building a new India. And, we in the UK government will support him fully in his endeavour.” Soon after the results were announced on Friday, PM Modi congratulated Boris for his return with a thumping majority. “I wish him the best and look forward to working together for closer India-UK ties,” he said.