Set up in 1999, the Labour Friends of India was relaunched at an event attended by the Indian high commissioner, Ruchi Ghanshyam, and members of the shadow cabinet such as John McDonnell and Barry Gardiner, councillors and functionaries at the party headquarters in London.
Hoping to return to power at the next election, an India-focussed lobby within Britain’s Labour Party on Wednesday recalled strong and historic ties with the country and said it would highlight the issues and concerns of the 1.5 million-strong Indian community in the UK.
The group is headed by co-chairmen Rajesh Agarwal, deputy mayor of London, and Darren Jones, Labour MP for Bristol North-West.
Agrawal said: “Labour Friends of India will give a powerful voice to the 1.5 million strong British-Indian community, as well as promoting understanding of India’s position as a major international power and fast-growing economy”.
“A strong international partnership between the UK and India will continue to endure with the relaunch of the group, as we mark 20 years since its launch in 1999. Our ties with India are historic and strong, from supporting India’s right to Independence, to challenging the immigration policies for people from the subcontinent”.
Jones added: “With an election possible at any time, we will redouble our work to listen to and engage the community. That will involve everyone from our leadership and front bench, mayors and council leaders, councillors and activists.”
“The Labour Party’s relationship with India, and the significant Indian diaspora in the UK has a proud history, and as we prepare to return to government, we are determined to strengthen our ties for the future.”
The group’s focus would be to broaden and deepen understanding of the issues of concern to the Indian diaspora, including businesses, students, community leaders and voluntary sector activists.