Should the UK pay reparations to India?

This isn’t, or shouldn’t, be a major issue. The concept of paying reparations 50+ years after India gained independence is to compensate for the shortcomings of independent governments in developing their countries sufficiently. It gives India an excuse to actually sidetrack from the serious problems facing their country. This issue is brought up by India and is a convenient sidetrack from the Indian government’s inability to combat rapidly growing inequality within the country.

Furthermore, why should the current generation of Britons pay for the “mistakes” of their governments from generations ago, when there wasn’t even a universal franchise? I’m by absolutely no means an imperialist, but I would laugh and rebuke any efforts by the Irish government to seek, or to have done so in the past, financial reparation from the British government following the Anglo-Irish Treaty.

In my opinion it is just a case of again seeking to play the victim card and spread the myth of white guilt. What makes it even more remarkable is people actually support this in the UK. I understand terrible, terrible things were done by Britain in India and I in absolutely no way endorse them. They were vile. However, we should not seek to evaluate these events from decades ago through a modern lens. What was acceptable, for example, in the first half of the 20th century isn’t necessarily acceptable now (based on public perceptions), whether we like it or not. Coming back now as opposed to at the time of independence is India attempting to unfairly exploit their newfound global influence.

Let’s consider a few more things – Britain, last year, gave India £279 million in foreign aid. This is not including the fact that for many years India was the biggest recipient of foreign aid from the UK. To compound the misery, India have not been spending the money on development. India’s space programme has already cost £250 million, pretty much the same amount of money Britain gives to India each year in foreign aid. Let’s not also forget the large British charity presence in India, funded by the goodwill of the British people – I am beginning to become persuaded that charity is a very effective way of fostering sustainable development as opposed to the foreign aid payment.

It’s not as if India needs foreign aid either – India’s growth of GDP, GDP at factor, domestic savings as % of GDP, foodgrain production, the quality of roads, foreign exchange reserves, imports and exports have all skyrocketed in the past 20 years. Furthermore, the UK is the destination for the largest amount of Indian exports in Europe.

In essense, what British reparations to India would involve is giving them even more money than the UK does now fairly, with Britian not necessarily benefiting from it. Britain is already doing enough to help India – all this issue will do is stir division and distrust, something the current improving Anglo-Indian relationship doesn’t need. And the economics aside, only Indians over the age of 68 lived in India before independence. This figure would probably have to increase to 75+ for the Indians who actually remember British rule. Even then, the 75+ in India make up a very small portion of their population (as of 2014).


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