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Opposition Labour Party reaches out to Indian diaspora: Shower praise on “amazing nurses from Kerala”

Opposition Labour Party reaches out to Indian diaspora: Shower praise on “amazing nurses from Kerala”

Deputy Indian High Commissioner attended the relaunch event of Labour Convention of Indian Organisations at the Annual Labour Conference in Liverpool LONDON Sept 30: The UK’s Opposition Labour Party has reached out to the Indian diaspora as a key demographic in its pursuit to win the next general election, expected in roughly two years' time. During a special India-focused event on the sidelines of the party’s annual conference in Liverpool earlier this week, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer formally relaunched the recently revived Labour Convention of Indian Organisations (LCIO) and hailed its mission of strengthening India-UK relations. “I welcome the re-establishment of the Labour Convention of Indian Organisations. The timing is poignant as people across the world celebrate 75 years of Indian independence,” Starmer said in a statement. “I’m proud of Labour’s work with the Indian diaspora in the UK, particularly in strengthening ties between the UK and India. British Indians make an enormous contribution to our economy, culture, and politics. I’ll welcome working with the LCIO on our mission to form the next Labour government,” he said. It is seen as a turning point of sorts in the diaspora’s engagement with the UK's Opposition party, which under former leader Jeremy Corbyn was seen as being less India friendly with unwelcome resolutions passed on Kashmir at the party’s annual conference in recent years. In contrast, India’s Deputy High Commissioner to the UK, Sujit Ghosh, attended this year’s conference and the LCIO relaunch. “We welcome the initiative and look forward to working closely with LCIO to further the India-UK ties,” the Indian High Commission in London tweeted after the event. The speakers at the event, chaired by Indian-origin member of Parliament Navendu Mishra, included veteran British Indian MP Virendra Sharma and party colleagues such as Barry Gardiner and Paula Barker. “I’ve visited India a number of times and was really impressed by the organisation of women’s groups and how they are tackling the climate crisis,” said Angela Rayner, the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, who also spoke about the Indian diaspora's enriching influence on the UK with specific reference to the “amazing nurses from Kerala” employed in the state-funded National Health Service (NHS). Other speakers at the event included LCIO's Steering Committee members made up of prominent British Indian community leaders such as Neena Gill, Krish Raval, Dr Nikita Ved, and Gurinder Singh Josan. The LCIO announced its relaunch on Independence Day last month to celebrate the 75th anniversary of India’s independence. Its stated aim is to close the gap between British Indians and the Labour Party; foster inclusive sustainable growth for both countries through a trade agreement; deepen cultural and educational ties between Britain and India; and engage with India as a “partner and critical friend” on issues of concern for British Indians. The organisation, which traces its roots back to India’s freedom struggle, says the reason for the reinvigoration this year is to inclusively connect British Indians to Labour and to engage India on the big issues of our time – namely the climate crisis, sustainable development and enhancing internationalism. This outreach towards the Indian diaspora comes at a time when the Keir Starmer led Labour Party is enjoying a bounce in its popularity as it tabled several measures to tackle the country’s cost-of-living crisis, amid economic turmoil unleashed in the wake of a mini-budget tabled by the governing Conservative Party. The annual Conservative Party conference is scheduled to kick off in Birmingham on Sunday, which will mark Liz Truss' debut as recently-elected party leader and Prime Minister. The conferences are an annual feature of the UK's political calendar, with the major political parties laying the policy vision for the year ahead and also pitching for votes in time for the next general election, usually held in a five-year cycle. - PTI

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