Feast, music awaits Sunak in India


PM’s maternal uncle of Punjabi heritage said all relatives have been asked to come to Delhi to mark his arrival…reports Asian Lite News

Rishi Sunak is expecting a warm welcome in India. Not only at the G20 Summit but also by his family. Britain’s prime minister has Indian ancestors and strong ties to the country.

The 43-year-old, who is said that he is proud of his Indian roots, was born in India to parents who immigrated to the UK from East Africa. His wife, Akshata Murty, is the daughter of Narayana Murthy, India’s billionaire tech czar, and philanthropist and educator Sudha Murty.

The Daily Telegraph reported over the weekend that Prime Minister Sunak’s relatives will host a feast with flower bouquets and “non-stop dancing” to Punjabi music.

Dr Gautam Dev Sood, 65, a maternal uncle of the UK prime minister of Punjabi heritage, said all relatives have been asked to come to the Indian capital to mark his arrival. “It is a great honour for us that he is visiting his ancestral land,” Dr Sood told the newspaper.

Subhash Berry, Rishi Sunak’s paternal uncle, added, “We can’t divulge exact details but a plan is in place to welcome the (British) prime minister. We are gearing up for a night of non-stop dancing, mostly to the lively beats of the traditional Punjabi music, although I imagine we might also groove to a few English tunes along the way.”

The newspaper notes that Rishi Sunak is unlikely to attend the event because of an intense work schedule between Friday and Sunday for the G20 summit and bilateral talks on its sidelines. Rishi Sunak, 43, was born in Southampton to parents Yashvir and Usha.

The British leader will be accompanied on his first visit to India as prime minister by his Indian wife, Akshata Murty. While Sunak has extended family in northern India, Murty’s relatives mostly live in Karnataka.

When asked if he discusses Indian politics, technology, or the challenges he encounters running the United Kingdom with his in-laws, Rishi Sunak told PTI that it is cricket that they talk about. His daughters support India when it comes to cricket, just as they support England when it comes to football.

“It’s very important to keep politics separate from family, but of course my wife and two daughters very much guide my values, as do my parents and parents-in-law,” he added.

“I am, though, incredibly proud of my parents-in-law and what they have achieved — going from nothing to building one of the world’s largest and most respected companies, which employs thousands of people in both India and in the UK,” Sunak said.

“It is wonderful to be able to travel to India for the G20 with Akshata, and hopefully we will get a chance to visit some of the places we went to when we were younger – we’ll both be very busy the whole trip though,” he said.

The British premier is looking forward to meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and discussing how India and the UK can work together to address numerous global concerns.

According to reports, a bilateral meeting between Sunak and Modi is expected on the sidelines.

“My ministerial colleagues who have visited India in the past year have all returned with a renewed enthusiasm for the UK-India partnership,” he said.

“Beyond the work of the G20 itself, it has been fantastic for so many people to see the breadth and depth of India by travelling all over the country for meetings and discovering the unique cultures on display all over India,” he added.

“When I meet Prime Minister Modi again this week it will be an opportunity to speak about some of the global challenges we face, and the huge role that the UK and India have to play in addressing them.”

He described India as an “indispensable partner” of the UK across all spheres of bilateral cooperation during a Cabinet meeting with his top team at Downing Street this week.

“He [Sunak] said negotiations around a free trade deal were progressing and that he would only agree on an approach which worked for the whole of the UK,” noted a Downing Street readout of the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

UK Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch, who returned from a visit to India after talks with Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal last month, also updated the UK Cabinet on the free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations, saying that “India is already one of the UK’s largest trading partners, with a relationship worth GBP 36 billion a year”.

The FTA talks have completed 12 negotiation rounds and according to a joint outcome statement issued at its conclusion recently, ministers from both sides “took stock of the FTA and agreed ways to progress the negotiations”.

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