June 27, 2016

Timely Brexit U-turn by RSS connected think tank (Radhika Ramasheshan)

The Telegraph - 26 June 2016

Timely Brexit U-turn by Sangh think tank

New Delhi, June 25: India Foundation, the RSS-aligned think tank that counts central ministers Nirmala Sitharaman, Suresh Prabhu and Jayant Sinha and BJP general secretary Ram Madhav among its directors, cried off a campaign to drum up support against Brexit in London on June 16.
"By then, we had sensed the people's mood was growing in favour of Britain's exit from the European Union. Had we still gone ahead, the blame would have gone to the Centre," a foundation source said.
Top officials in the Modi government were spoken to when the outfit had proposed the idea, although the source denied the Centre had a role in it.
In an interview to the Wall Street Journal (May 26), the Prime Minister had counselled the UK not to withdraw from the EU. Modi was quoted as saying the UK was India's "gateway to Europe" and "India always stands in support of a strong and united Europe".
The foundation - it also has BJP Rajya Sabha MP M.J. Akbar and Shaurya Doval, investment manager and son of national security adviser Ajit Doval, on its board - was planning an event in tandem with Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal to send a message to the British citizens of south-Asian origin to vote "Remain".
Soon, the organisers figured out that there was no unanimity in the estimated three million community.
A source said Bangladeshi curry house bosses, an influential group among the migrants, appealed to voters to back Brexit to save their restaurants from closing down because of the UK's "biased" immigration policy.
The Bangladesh Caterers' Association slammed the "double standards" that imposed controls on them if they wished to hire skilled migrants from outside the EU.
On the other hand, Sri Lanka urged its people to vote for Britain to remain in the EU.
A foundation source said three of Sri Lanka's ministers impressed upon the voters that a single European market was "critical" for the island nation. They quoted Modi's Wall Street Journal statements, Tata Steel (that has invested hugely in the UK), RBI governor Raghuram Rajan and CII spokespersons to demonstrate that their concerns were shared by India.
"Even for India, it was a mixed situation. The highly skilled and successful citizens of Indian origin were for Brexit," the source said, adding that Conservative minister Priti Patel's pro-Brexit campaign was a "hit" with this grouping that consisted largely of Gujarati-speaking PIOs and NRIs and formed the core of the Modi-backers in Britain.
Interestingly, the BJP did not sound too happy with the Brexit verdict. An official expressed his apprehensions over the "rise" of "right-wing extremism" in Europe, the US and the UK.
When it was pointed out that parties such as France's National Front and Germany's Alternate for Germany were ideologically compatible with the BJP-it won the recent Assam election on the plank of "saving the Assamese culture and identity" from the "onslaught" of the "Bangladeshi immigrants"- a BJP official protested.
"We are closer to the Conservatives. Please do not bracket us with these parties," he stressed, adding the government's primary concern, post Brexit, was the prospective "turmoil" in the Western market that was "bound to adversely impact India".