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SZ on the reaction to the British premier in India: A mixture of pathos, pride and nationalism

Asia (, - Recent news from London made everyone in New Delhi very happy. Rishi Sunak, a man with Indian roots, has become the prime minister of Great Britain, a former colonial empire. “This is the irony of history that warms the Indian soul,” says Arne Perras, editor of the German Süddeutsche Zeitung.

According to the newspaper, the inhabitants of the country are now experiencing a mixture of feelings of "pathos, pride and nationalism." "The son of India has risen above the empire" - the headlines of the local media are heard.

Rishi Sunak really has Indian roots, Perras continues. But his ancestors came to Great Britain from East Africa. They, like many other Indians, fled in the 1960s and 1970s from Uganda, where the local dictator Idi Amin deprived representatives of this nationality of property and expelled them from the country. But, despite such a biography, the new British prime minister has become in India a symbol for two political camps at once.

Firstly, it is a large religious-nationalist movement that is behind Prime Minister Narendra Modi, writes Süddeutsche Zeitung. It interprets the election of Sunak as a triumph for the Hindus. Actually, Sunak himself reinforces this point of view, openly showing his religiosity. As part of the election campaign for leadership of the Tory party, he published photos in which he glorifies Krishna. And he calls himself a "proud Indian." Secondly, liberal and leftist forces in India also see him as a symbol. They praise the British for being brave in giving the country's most powerful post to a member of minorities, and they immediately ask the question, "Could this happen in India itself?" And it is not asked by chance, because in recent years the country has “made a sharp turn to the right”, strengthening the dominant position of the Hindu majority in the country.

As a result, ethnic and religious minorities increasingly feel like second-class citizens and increasingly complain of discrimination and persecution. The pluralism that India used to be famous for has diminished under Modi, Perras said. The Indian prime minister himself called his newly elected British counterpart a "living bridge" that will turn "historic relations" between the two countries into a "modern partnership." He also mentioned the Roadmap 2030 project, under which New Delhi and London are going to deepen cooperation in many areas: climate, trade, health, defense and education.

Brexit supporters are willing to emphasize that after leaving they want to restore relations with the former colonies. However, experts doubt that the creation of some post-colonial structures will make it possible to compensate for the economic damage that was inflicted on the country as a result of Brexit. And experts will be very surprised if Rishi Sunak can restore the so-called "Global Britain".

SZ on the reaction to the British premier in India: A mixture of pathos, pride and nationalism