Until the 17th century, India was the richest country in the world and had controlled a third of global wealth. Political unity and military security helped evolve a uniform economic system, increased trade and enhanced agricultural productivity. Once the British has colonised India and left, it was a basket case.
Indian politician and writer Shashi Kapoor has documented the state the British left India in. They looted the country and the British legacy was 16 per cent literacy, a life expectancy of 27, practically no domestic industry and over 90 per cent living below the poverty line.
Once Britain lost its empire, it managed to secure a degree of global influence by throwing in its lot with the US as a junior partner in Washington’s quest for global hegemony. And if the 21st century tells us anything so far, it is that the centuries’ old colonialist mentality of the British state has not gone away: the mindset of Empire, conquest and duplicity persists.
In 2015, the then UK prime minister David Cameron said he felt deeply moved by the image of a Syrian boy dead on a Turkish beach. As pressure mounted on the UK to take in more of those fleeing to Europe from Syria and other war zones, Cameron added that the UK would fulfil its “moral responsibilities.”
On hearing Cameron’s words about ‘morality’, how many would not have failed to detect the hypocrisy? According to former French foreign minister Roland Dumas, Britain had planned covert action in Syria as early as 2009. And writing in The Guardian in 2013, Nafeez Ahmed discussed leaked emails from the private intelligence firm Stratfor, including notes from a meeting with Pentagon officials, that confirmed US-UK training of Syrian opposition forces since 2011 aimed at eliciting “collapse” of Assad’s regime “from within.”
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