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India at 75: Can Britain and India be Friends?

What common values and goals do the two countries share? And what legacy does the British Empire still have in shaping any potential friendship?

India and Britain have a bloody history. For nearly 200 years from the Battle of Plassey on 23 June 1757, the British Empire ruled the Indian subcontinent as a colony – exploiting its people and natural resources for economic gain.

But since Indian independence in 1947 the relationship between the two countries has changed dramatically. India has become the world’s fastest growing economy and recently overtook Britain as the fifth largest in the world. India has a highly skilled workforce with a diaspora working in senior positions of the world’s largest tech companies such as Google and Microsoft. And India has become a powerful geopolitical actor – spending $76.6 billion on its military, the third highest in the world after China and The United States.

So in a post-colonial world what relationship should exist between India and Britain? What common values and goals do the two countries share? And what legacy does the British Empire still have in shaping any potential friendship? Join Shashi Tharoor and Jo Johnson on Wednesday October 5 to discuss and debate the future relationship between the two countries for the second event in our new series ‘India at 75.’



Jo Johnson

Chairman of Access Creative and former Member of Parliament from 2010-2019

Former member of the British Parliament between 2010-2019. He held positions in Government under three prime ministers, including Head of the No10 Downing Street Policy Unit and Minister of State for Universities, Science and Innovation. He is currently Chairman of Access Creative, an independent provider of further education and training for the creative industries. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School and President’s Professorial Fellow at King’s College, London.

Shashi Tharoor

Indian politician, writer and author of The Struggle for India's Soul

Politician, writer and former diplomat who has been a Member of the Indian Parliament since 2009. He was formerly Under-Secretary General of the United Nations and is the author of many books including Why I Am A Hindu and the recent title The Struggle for India's Soul.

Kavita Puri

Award-winning journalist and broadcaster, and author of Partition Voices: Untold British Stories

Award-winning journalist, broadcaster and executive producer. She is the author of the critically-acclaimed Partition Voices: Untold British Stories, based on her BBC Radio 4 series which won the Royal Historical Society's Radio and Podcast Award and its overall Public History prize. Her book was recently adapted at the Donmar Warehouse in London.