British High Commissioner to India Dominic Asquith (Photo by NARINDER NANU / AFP)


India and the UK will jointly launch a global coalition for disaster resilient infrastructure on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York in September, British High Commissioner Dominic Asquith said on Wednesday (31).

The idea to set up the coalition was first mooted by prime minister Narendra Modi to put in place a mechanism for quick and effective remedial measures to deal with natural disasters.

“We are strong supporter of the global coalition for disaster resilient infrastructure. We will co-launch the initiative with India,” Asquith told reporters.

Asked whether the new British government will bring changes in its immigration regime, the envoy referred to prime minister Boris Johnson’s comments that the UK must continue to attract the brightest and best talent from around the world.

“The prime minister has made it clear that we must have the best and the brightest talent from across the world,” he said, adding, “I do not want to preempt what he wants to do.”

Asquith also referred to home secretary Priti Patel’s support for an immigration system which does not favour any particular geographical region.

The High Commissioner said immigration rules by the previous government did not impact Indian students as their numbers grew doubled in last three years.

“It increased by 40 per cent last year,” he said.

Johnson last week had given clear hints of effecting changes in the current immigration system and favoured introduction of an Australia-style points-based system skilled overseas workers.

The previous British government had introduced stricter immigration rules.

Johnson said he would ask the government’s Migration Advisory Committee to review the Australia system as the first step of a “radical rewriting of our immigration system”.