UK has become a favourite destination for dodgy characters with questionable sources of funds
Where does the United Kingdom head from here? This is something that is being debated intensely in the halls of Westminster as the country is left with a single year before they must comply with the wishes of the majority of their voters who chose to leave the European Union. While there are some who question that nation’s isolationist tendencies, and that has led to a rebellion within the Cabinet where both anti-European hardliners and pro-European technocrats have battled it out, the UK remains a popular destination. Not just for holidaymakers of all sorts, but also politicians and businessmen from India. A popular joke among some journalists is that you are more likely to find sources at London’s Heathrow Airport than in Lutyens’ Delhi or South Mumbai.
But those are mostly temporary visitors to the UK, there to spend money on Oxford Street, take in the sights and sounds of anachronisms like the British Royal family and enjoy viewing some of the stolen artefacts in the Victoria and Albert museum. So, it isn’t a surprise that the UK also welcomes many people who have made their wealth through questionable means and who abuse the British immigration and asylum system to flee with their wealth to the UK. The UK is a very comfortable place to stay for those on the run from countries the Brits once ruled — the English language, familiar food and enough interesting ways to spend money. Once upon a time it was African dictators, then Russian oligarchs and now Indian fugitives such as Lalit Modi, Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi all safely ensconced in and around London. They are safe in the knowledge that the UK will almost certainly never deport them under the garb of human rights or some other such formulation. After all, money talks and so what if lives were ruined by the likes of Mallya or the blatant robbery of the Indian taxpayer by Nirav Modi, the United Kingdom has celebrated thieves; once they were colonial thieves and now it’s new-age thieves. Mallya still roams London in his Rolls-Royce, for example.
The left-wing Guardian newspaper lamented that while the UK has given such people refuge they have not granted enough visas to foreign doctors — little realising that the doctors they are stealing away from developing countries is tantamount to new-age colonialism. And if the United Kingdom wants a ‘trade deal’ with India, our Government must negotiate the return of these felons to India as part of that deal. The UK is, however, right in wanting to return illegal immigrants as part of the deal, as they have done with China. But if the United Kingdom wants to be taken seriously in trade deals or any other bilateral/multilateral agreements going forward, it cannot just be an island that hosts a football league that everyone watches and where Scotch is made (for now). The British establishment has to ensure that the UK does not become a haven for crooks which other nations do not take seriously.