Sailesh Vara and friends of India

Shailesh Vara becomes new Co-Chair of CF India

North West Cambridgeshire MP, Shailesh Vara has become the new Co-Chair of the Conservative Friends of India (CF India).

With new Prime Minister Theresa May’s recent ministerial reshuffle, the previous Co-Chair Alok Sharma MP has moved on with his Government role as Minister for Asia at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

"I am delighted to be Co-Chairman of CF India,” said Mr Vara.

“The relationship between the Conservative Party and the Indian diaspora continues to grow closer by the day and I look forward to furthering that aim. There is much work to be done, both in terms of deepening the Conservative Party's relationship with the British Indian diaspora and strengthening our very close links with India,” he added.

CF India was set up to build stronger links between the Conservative Party, the British Indian community and India. It recognises the successes and values of British Indians and advocates closer relations between India and Britain to the benefit of both nations.

Bilateral trade between India and the UK is worth around £16.5 billion, and the UK is India’s biggest G20 investor. India is one of the biggest investors in the UK - in fact, India invests more in the UK than it invests in the rest of the EU combined. Mr Sharma will be working with Boris Johnson to build vital links with India following Brexit.

And with the recent general elections where people of Indian origin largely voted for the Conservative Party compared to the traditional trend of ethnic minorities voting for the Labour Party means that the India UK relations is on the up.

Mr Vara has the necessary credential having served at ministerial level in government as well as being recognised for his work linked to his ancestry. He was awarded the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman by the Indian Government in 2014 in recognition of his work in promoting closer ties between the UK and India. It is the highest award that the Indian Government can confer on people of Indian origin who now live abroad.

Mr Vara was elected as an MP in 2005 and since then served right through having been re-elected again in 2010 and 2015. He had served as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Ministry of Justice under David Cameron. Whilst in Opposition, he served on the Select Committee for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and in 2006 on the Standing Committee of the Companies Bill, scrutinising the largest Bill ever to go through Parliament.

In 2006, Mr Vara was appointed Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons, a post he held until the 2010 General Election. Following the General Election, Shailesh served as a Government Whip from 2010-2012 before taking up his role as Justice Minister in 2013.

Mr Vara will be joining Ranjit Singh Baxi as Co-Chairman of CF India. Mr Baxi stated: “I am very pleased to welcome Shailesh Vara back to the position of CF India Co-Chairman. We have an exciting programme of events and activity planned for the coming year and we can do nothing but accelerate with the sound advice and ideas of one of the most senior Indian-origin politicians in the UK. Shailesh is someone who will give time and effort to whatever task is in hand and we are looking forward to working with him.”

“CF India is one of the Party's strongest affiliated groups and I look forward to working with the very able and committed Ranjit Baxi to make the group even stronger," said Mr Vara.

Patrick McLoughlin, Conservative Party Chairman said: “I am pleased that Shailesh Vara has been appointed Co-Chairman of CF India. He is a very able and versatile politician who has held a variety of Government roles in the past and will bring to CF India a wealth of experience.”

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Photo Courtesy: CF India

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