India: Freedom of Religion or Belief - Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords am 3:14 pm ar 16 Ebrill 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Lord Cameron of Chipping Norton Lord Cameron of Chipping Norton Foreign Secretary, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office 3:14, 16 Ebrill 2024

The noble Lord makes a very good point about the rumbustious nature of Indian democracy. India should be proud of being the biggest democracy in the world. As with all democracies, there are imperfections—as there are in our own country. We should celebrate the scale of India’s democracy.

The point the noble Lord makes about the BBC is important. My understanding is that India passed a law insisting that digital media companies had to be Indian-owned, and the BBC has had to restructure on that basis. That is not the British way—insisting that all media have to be domestically owned—although I know that some in this place and elsewhere have been tempted by those moves; I have sometimes fantasised about that when reading things that I have read. None the less, that is the reason why the BBC has restructured, together with some disagreements with India.

I will take away and look at the point that the noble Lord then made about the trade deal. My understanding of where we are with the trade deal is that good market access has been offered on both sides, but not quite enough yet to secure a deal. It is important with such trade deals, as you only really get one proper shot at it, to make sure that it is a good enough deal that will be welcomed by industry leaders here in the UK as offering real market access. On the point on media access, I will have to go away and look at that. Personally, I would say that we should open up media access on both sides to make sure we have a good plurality of media.