This morning we learn the new Foreign Secretary has been booked to go to Washington, and we are assured he will shortly thereafter be visiting Paris and Berlin.
If they wanted to show they understood how the world is changing, Foreign Office officials would buy him a ticket from Washington to Delhi,and then on to Beijing.
The UK needs to build a deeper and stronger friendship with India, the world’s largest democracy. It must be good news for the UK that India has a fast growing market of 1200 million people, in a country where English is the second language of many.
The Uk needs a good relationship with China, its bank manager and supplier of so many goods. As the Coalition government understandably plans to take time to cut the deficit it needs to know the views of the world’s main creditor who will be needed to buy some of the debt.
Economic power is shifting and will shift dramatically. There are 300 million consumers in Europe, in a very slow growing area of the world with substantial debt and currency problems. There are 2500 million consumers in India and China, with a combined growth rate of almost 10% per annum. China has $2 trillion in the bank. The UK’s commercial future lies more in Asia. If we are to earn our present living standards and grow them faster we need to go east.