New Delhi: What does the British Prime Minister talk at the dinner table with his Indian parents-in-law? Is it Indian politics or the problems of governing Britain? Neither. It’s cricket.
“The most political we tend to become is in our talk about cricket. I’ve decided that my girls may support India when it comes to cricket, as long as they support England when it comes to football!,” Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told Press Trust of India.
Rishi Sunak’s parents, both of Indian heritage, moved to the UK from east Africa. His wife Akshata Murty is the daughter of India’s wealthy IT czar Narayana Murthy and philanthropist and educator Sudha Murty.
In an interview through email days ahead of his arrival to New Delhi to attend the G20 summit on September 9 and 10, Rishi Sunak said today the reception from the Indian people to his selection as the prime minister was “overwhelming and humbling.”
“I am tremendously proud of my Indian ancestry and my links to India. As you know, my wife is Indian and being a proud Hindu means I will always have a connection to India and the people of India,” he remarked.
The 43-year-old leader of the Conservative Party was first elected as an MP in 2015. He was named finance minister or chancellor of exchequer in February 2020 by then Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
In October last year, he became the first Indian-origin British prime minister, making history.
“One of the first things I did after becoming Prime Minister was to organize a reception for Diwali at Downing Street. Having the opportunity to welcome many British Indians inside Number 10 and seeing the building decked from top to bottom with lights and flowers was a very proud and emotional experience for me,” Rishi Sunak said.
“Because my tale is the narrative of so many individuals in Britain with profound and long ties to India. The strength of our country comes in its diversity, and that’s something I have witnessed first-hand many times since becoming Prime Minister,” he remarked.
Asked if he talks Indian politics, technology or challenges he faces in governing Great Britain when he meets with his in-laws, Rishi Sunak said it is crucial to keep politics distinct from family.
“It’s very important to keep politics separate from family, but of course my wife and two daughters very much guide my values, as do my parents and parents-in-law.” “I am, though, incredibly proud of my parents-in-law and what they have achieved — going from nothing to building one of the world’s largest and most respected companies, which employs thousands of people in both India and in the UK,” he added.
“I want to create and lead a country where anyone can emulate the kind of success that they have had,” Rishi Sunak stated.
“It is wonderful to be able to travel to India for the G20 with Akshata, and hopefully we will get a chance to visit some of the places we went to when we were younger – we’ll both be very busy the whole trip though!” Rishi Sunak said he is looking forward to visiting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and debate on how partnership between India and the UK helps in dealing with various global concerns.
“My ministerial colleagues who have visited India in the past year have all returned with a renewed enthusiasm for the UK-India partnership,” he added.
“Beyond the work of the G20 itself, it has been fantastic for so many people to see the breadth and depth of India by travelling all over the country for meetings and discovering the unique cultures on display all over India,” he said.
“When I meet Prime Minister Modi again this week it will be an opportunity to speak about some of the global challenges we face, and the huge role that the UK and India have to play in addressing them,” Rishi Sunak said.