Zac Goldsmith: We need to celebrate the great contribution the Indian community has made to London

Zac Goldsmith is the MP for Richmond Park. He is one of four hopefuls in the race to become The Conservative Party’s candidate in the 2016 London Mayoral Election. Mr Goldsmith is running against Andrew Boff, Syed Kamall and Stephen Greenhalgh.

I’m proud that Britain is home to the largest group of Indians outside of India, with 1.5 million British Indians, the majority of whom live in the greatest city in the world, London.

The British Indian Diaspora are a great asset to our country; a community that works hard, has integrated magnificently and who love this country.

It’s extraordinary to think that as a community, British Indians represent just 2% of the British population, and yet it represents over 6% of Britain’s GDP.

The Prime Minister was spot on when he said that the British Indian community are “one of the most successful groups of immigrants to any country anywhere in history who give so much to this incredible country.”

The 900,000 Gujaratis living in Britain in particular, many of whom moved here under appalling circumstances from East Africa, have brought immeasurable economic, cultural and social benefits to Britain.

We need to celebrate the great contribution the Indian community has made to London, excelling in every field. Our culture and literature has been enriched by the contribution of writers of Indian origin. Business in the UK has benefited from the huge contributions made by the Indian community with countless successful British Indian entrepreneurs. Our sport has also benefited from British Indians, especially the England cricket team, with Ravi Bopara, Monty Panesar, Vikram Solanki and former England captain Nasser Hussain.

At the anniversary of Indian Independence, it’s worth reflecting on the great ties between our countries. We have a shared history, a common language, a respect for democracy – and an enduring partnership.

We share the values of respect, the importance of community, striving to give our children the best possible start in life and the recognition that through hard work you can get on and succeed, reflected in the strong entrepreneurial drive that steers our respective cultures.

It is no coincidence that India is the country our Prime Minister has visited the most, and we are of course very much looking forward to welcoming Prime Minister Modi to the UK in November and further strengthening our trading and business ties.

I will have the honour of speaking at the opening of the new Amoopam Mission Temple in Uxbridge this weekend, and I look forward to engaging continually with our Indian communities in the weeks, months and years ahead.


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