Can Boris Johnson be both Indophile and Sinophile?
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has previously ...
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has previously described himself as a "son-in-law of India", owing to his former wife's Indian mother. According to reports, he is a self-proclaimed Indophile. While in office, he has also put on record his fervent Sinophilia. But can he really be both?
Perhaps. I am sure it is perfectly possible for one person to have a profound attachment to the people and culture of both India and China. Although I suspect in Johnson's case, such words are motivated by a desire to be popular and increase trade with as many countries across the world as possible. A dive into the Prime Minister's past speeches and newspaper columns would probably reveal a whole host of nations who he has declared a special affinity towards. Yet even if his love of all things Indian and all things Chinese is sincere, when it comes to diplomacy, a choice must be made. The choice must be India.
Since the outbreak of Covid-19, views in the UK towards China have hardened, especially on the government's backbenches. Over the past few months prominent Conservative parliamentarians have demanded tougher measures against Beijing for its treatment of Uighurs, and other ethnic minorities, in Xinjiang. On several occasions these rebels have been remarkably close to defeating the government in parliamentary votes and have, they claim, in the process exacted concessions.