It is understood that the Indian High Commission in London raised objections and changed its decision at the last moment.
In an unprecedented move, a visit to India by a high powered, cross-party delegation of UK parliamentarians has been cancelled by Indian authorities.
According to a report in The Guardian, the cancellation is a sign of the growing rift over India’s refusal to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The visit by the 10-member strong delegation was being led by Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle and his deputy Dame Eleanor Laing. It is understood that the Indian High Commission raised objections and changed its decision at the last moment.
However, it is unclear whether the objection raised was in regard to the composition of the delegation or they were apprehensive about an effort by the British Parliamentarians to persuade the Indian Government to change its stance over the Ukraine issue.
The Guardian reported quoting its sources that British officials have been holding discussions with India since January, mostly about a UK-India free trade deal but the goal was shifted in February once war erupted in Europe between Ukraine and Russia. The Guardian is of the view that the delegation was hoping to convince India to take up a tougher stance against Russia than they have so far.
The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on Tuesday attempting to coax him to take a strong stand against Moscow. Not only has India not imposed any sanctions, but they have also refused to condemn the occupation by Russia, their biggest supplier of military hardware.
The Parliamentary delegation’s concern could revolve around reports of India’s central bank setting up an initial plans of a Rupee-Rouble trade agreement with Moscow that could by-pass Western sanctions which restrict other international payment options. India continues to import oil and other goods from Russia despite continuous pressure from rest of the international community.
One of the main problems that India faces now is China’s occupation of Indian territory and its confrontational attitude. Experts feel that at such a delicate juncture, India can ill-afford to antagonize its main arms supplier.