Recollections and reflections

Reminiscences, Rafi Ahmad Kidwai

I first came in contact with Subhas Bose in 1923 at Delhi when the Congress was divided into two groups over the question of what was known as 'Council Entry.'...Subhas Babu, as the favourite lieutenant of Deshabandhu, was playing a prominent part in the controversy. more>>

From the above study, important conclusions may be drawn regarding the future prospects of Indo-British trade. True, we have not taken into account the latest developments inasmuch as we have left the last four years out of our study; nor have we considered the possible reactions of the recent Swadeshi movement on our trade, especially with Britain. Nevertheless, the historical perspective of half a century will, in our opinion, be a surer guide in the matter than the passing events of a few abnormal years.

In view of the fact that the United Kingdom has now come under the sway of far greater competition in the import trade of India both from home as well as from foreign countries some of which are decidedly better situated in supplying many of the manufactured goods required in India, we can expect very little progress, if not a positive decline, in our import trade with Britain.

In the case of exports sent from India, we may expect some slight developments in future, especially in view of the fact that the import of Empire products is being encouraged in the United Kingdom and that systematic efforts are being made to consume a greater amount of colonial goods. But here, also, the prospects are not very bright. Canada and Australia, with their vast agricultural resources, are showing great progress in their exports to Britain. It is not unlikely that in future some of the articles from India will be replaced by those from these colonies. In the case of wheat, they have already almost completely ousted India from the British market.

Moreover, it should not be lost sight of that the total amount of Indo-British trade has reached such huge dimensions for a poor country like India that the possibilities of further expansion are limited. While the import of British goods is restricted by competition from India and foreign countries, the exports from India are likely to be restricted by the competition from the colonies in supplying the British market and by the greater demand for Indian goods from non-British countries.