Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken strict decisions in his latest visit to London. It has been revealed that, Modi has refused to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Britain. The MoU states the agreement of India with Britain to facilitate the return of thousands of illegal Indian immigrants. The reason for Modi’s refusal on the agreement is the fact that UK is not offering Indians easier access to its visas.
Further the sources at the Indian high commission in London revealed that in April, junior home minister Kiren Rijiju had not signed the bilateral agreement on the return of illegal Indians, when Modi visited London. The reason stated was, “India did not see any progress on the British side of the agreement”.
On Wednesday, a home office spokesperson said, “The MoU initialed by minister of immigration Caroline Nokes and Indian minister of state for home affairs Kiren Rijiju on 11 January… paves the way for a quicker and more efficient process for documenting and returning Indian nationals who are in the UK illegally.”
A senior Indian high commission official told, “When May went to India she said progress on returns would help progress on UK visas for Indians, but we are not seeing that. We are seeing the denial of spousal visas and cancelling visas on small pretexts and a hostile environment. We need to see some easing of migration, especially of short-term visas such as for Indians students and those coming to work for companies.”
“We want a better visa system. If they are offering it to the Chinese, why not to Indians?” he said, referring to the two-year multiple-entry visit visa which Britain offers Chinese nationals. Access to visas is expected to be a key bargaining chip when the UK negotiates a free trade agreement with India after Brexit. Another reason for not signing the pact was that the timelines in the MoU were not realistic for getting confirmation of people’s identities,” the official added.
Finally, the proposed timelines were given that the Indian authorities would have 70 days to verify a suspected illegal Indian in the UK without ID whereas 15 days to confirm the identity of someone with ID.