Rishi Sunak has Indian origins, but is a pucca English Burra sahib

Lakshmana Venkat Kuchi
Do not expect pro-India decisions when it comes to Rishi Sunak, just because he has Indian origins. His first and foremost interests are British interests, and his personal interests -of seeing his party perform at the next elections, will force him to cater to his domestic voters who may not like him favouring India.
The jingoistic reaction of the country and countrymen and women to the elevation of Rishi Sunak, the first person of colour and a person of Indian origin, and son-in-law of founder of Bangalore based IT major Infosys,NR Narayanamurthy, would make one wonder if India has indeed captured the island kingdom that conquered and subjugated many parts of the world to build an empire in which the sun never set.
A tad misplaced it appears, a simpleton assumption that a British citizen, even if with an Indian, and a Pakistani connect, could favour the country more than say a person who is not because the hard realities and ground realities of politics that he must play and he has no place for appeasement of former colony. Also, Prime Minister Sunak Rishi has to face something close to Spanish inquisition in Parliament when he faces questions from members, during the course of which he or she is tested to the maximum, and one step amiss and the person had it. He or she has to be factually correct, cannot gloss over question, parry them but to answer them straight to the point or else be called out in a media that is relatively more free and ferocious than the media in many other parts of the world is.
Yes, Rishi Sunak did script history by becoming Britain’s first Asian origin Prime Minister at a time when he must tackle a mounting economic crisis. The manner in which he took the oath of office did warm the cockles of the Indians.
When Sunak Rishi missed out by a whisker to enter the 10 Downing Street two months ago, the entire Indian diaspora was dejected and went deep into depression.
For the record Sunak Rishi made all the right noises after becoming the Prime Minister and said that he wanted to change UK-India relationship and make it a more two-way exchange that opens easy access to UK students and companies in India. Aware of the strength of the Indian diaspora, the smart politician in Sunak Rishi never shies away from breaking into Indianness – or break into Hindi at any gathering comprising the diaspora and greets the gathering with a smattering of Indian languages – Hindi, Urdu, Gujarati, Punjabi and Kannada. In his first media interaction after assuming office, the new British Prime Minister said, “We know the UK-India relationship is important. We represent the living bridge between our two countries. “We are all very aware of the opportunity for the UK to sell things and do things in India, but actually we need to look at that relationship differently because there is an enormous amount that we here in the UK can learn from India.”
His words sent the Indian population into ruptures. Social media was full of how an Indian was now at the helm of affairs of the former colonial rulers and what they left unsaid what that he would help give India its rightful place in the relationship and also promote the country as and when he could. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was first off the blocs with a congratulatory Tweet in which he said he looked forward to working closely with his new British counterpart.
“@Rishi Sunak! As you become UK PM, I look forward to working closely together on global issues, and implementing Roadmap 2030. Special Diwali wishes to the ‘living bridge’ of UK Indian, as we transform our historic ties into a modern partnership,” Modi said.
A proud father-in-law of Sunak Rishi said, “We are proud of him and wish him success. Infosys co-founder said, “Congratulations to Rishi. We are proud of him, and we wish him success. We are confident he will do his best for the people of the United Kingdom.”  Sunak Rishi was educated at one of England’s most renowned schools, Winchester, and then Oxford and later he spent three years at Goldman Sachs Group Inc and gained an MBA from Stanford in California. It is there he met his future wife to be, Akshata Murthy, daughter of Naryanaya Murthy.
What India and Indians did, whenever any person with a link to India, however tenuous, achieved global success – own him and claim as their own. And in the case of Sunak Rishi, it was promptly done. And moreover, was he not the son-in-law of our own Narayana Murthy? So it is all Cricket, when Indians claim him as their own.
A perfect Englishman, and an upper class one at that, Rishi Sunak has always been expressing his Britishness and is a hard core conservative in every sense and would push for British interests unabashedly. And this being the case, Indians may be sadly mistaken that he would in any way be warm to Indian interests. His “Indianness” that he keeps reinforcing through symbolism is merely that – symbolism that does not mean anything when it comes to practicalities of politics and business.
In fact, in concrete terms what India will gain from Sunak Rishi’s elevation to the Prime Minister’s post in Great Britain as much as India gained from the entry of Kamala Harris in the White House as the vice president of USA, the first woman of colour with an Indian connect.
The reasons are simple.
India will not be in his mind which is fully occupied now with handling the mounting economic problems Great Britain faces. And unfortunately for him the war in Ukraine, over which he does not have any control, has the potential to further damage the economy that he must urgently repair. In fact, whether he likes it or not, Sunak Rishi, may well have to go along with few seemingly anti-India moves like not allowing more than a specific number of Indian immigrants into England, and delay the much-anticipated trade deal with India – because of his domestic political considerations.
Does he have time? Not really, as Sunak Rishi has less than two years to lead his party in general elections. If the conservatives lose, as is being predicted, Rishi Sunak may go down as the PM who lost an election.
Lakshmana Venkat Kuchi is a senior journalist tracking social, economic, and political changes across the country. He was associated with the Press Trust of India, The Hindu, Sunday Observer and Hindustan Times.  He can be reached on [email protected] and Twitter handle @kvlakshman