Celebrating Britain's 101 Most Influential Asians 2024

© Asian Media Group - 2024


Lord Tariq Ahmad


LORD TARIQ AHMAD is a minister of state who has been given responsibility for one of the most important aspects of British foreign policy – relations with India.

In the last few years, he has been to India around eight times partly to push for closer trade ties with the world’s fastest growing major economy. But it has been also to strengthen defence, intelligence and strategic ties, especially as Russia and China are now seen as adversaries. This requires a great deal of diplomatic skill because India has retained friendly relations with Russia despite president Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. In shorthand, Ahmad is often called “the minister for India”, and the 2030 road map states clearly: “Strengthening the UK-India relationship is a key pillar of the UK’s long-term foreign policy.”

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is now the FCDO – the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office – following its merger with the Department for International Development in 2020. Ahmad is now minister of state at the FCDO, responsible for the “Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, United Nations and the Commonwealth”. He has also been “special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict”.

He has certainly provided continuity in British foreign policy. He has seen foreign secretaries come and go – Boris Johnson (2016-2018), Jeremy Hunt (2018-2019), Dominic Raab (2019-2021), Liz Truss (2021-2022), James Cleverly (2022-2023), and now Lord David Cameron.

Ahmad laughed at how long his place of work at the foreign office had not changed: “I’m into my seventh year now. In the summer – if I am still here – it will be seven years since I started and became minister of state, although I took on the India brief during Boris Johnson’s tenure.” He was born in Lambeth, south London, on April 3, 1968 –

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