Covishield, Pakistan, AUKUS and India-UK ties
In 2019, Boris Johnson assumed the office of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Many of his policies were and are considered conducive to India. However, some of the recent decisions by the United Kingdom government may create trouble for UK's ties with India and may weaken the opposition to China.
Covishield vaccine is developed jointly by Serum Institute of India and AstraZeneca, a UK-Swedish multinational. The same vaccine under a different name is approved by the United Kingdom. However, the UK initially refused to recognise the vaccine used in India and later its certification process. The decision is getting criticised widely and is being termed discriminatory. India now mulls retaliatory restrictions, which could spell deep trouble for British businesses.
Praise for Pakistan
The UK has been all praise for Pakistan's anti-terror campaign even when the whole world is blaming them for being a terror sponsor and for bringing extremist Taliban to power in Afghanistan. This praise by senior-most British officials of the likes of foreign minister, chief of defence, etc., shows the UK in a very poor light.
France is badly upset at the AUKUS submarine deal and has recalled envoys from the UK, US and Australia. France, with its 5 territories and 9 million sq km Exclusive Economic Zone in the Indo-Pacific, will always be a crucial partner for any endeavour in the region. PM Johnson may have acted under domestic compulsions and UK's renewed policy towards European Union. Here, several recent decisions by Paris, which have taken China head-on, underline the importance of France in the context of China. However, with divisions created among the democratic nations that are resisting China, the AUKUS confusion may end up helping Beijing to a certain extent.
India is the second-largest investor in the United Kingdom. Also, India and UK have recently unveiled a 10-year roadmap to boost healthcare, trade and defence ties. Moreover, both the countries are soon slated to negotiate the Free Trade Agreement. Considering these prospects for the UK in the wake of post-Brexit challenges, the recent decisions may have negative implications for India-UK ties.