Will India dash UK trade deal hopes?



India : On Sunday Theresa May will land in smoggy Delhi with a large entourage of diplomats, advisers, business people and press in tow.

This is an important visit. It is the new British prime minister’s first bilateral meeting outside Europe, the first step in her mission to “forge a new global role for the UK”.

It is obvious why she has chosen India. Where better to demonstrate the world of opportunity that awaits a post-Brexit Britain?

India is now the world’s fastest growing large economy, with GDP growth of more than 7% a year and a 1.25 billion-strong market of increasingly wealthy consumers.

There should be a lot of warm words about the two countries’ long-standing ties, their special relationship and their shared values.

The Indian Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, was already talking of co-operation and future partnerships when I interviewed him on Thursday.

But do not be deceived by the diplomatic dance.

Diwali, the festival of lights – India’s great seasonal celebration of optimism and hope – has just finished.