Ranjit Singh Baxi and Shailesh Vara
CONSERVATIVE Friends of India (CF India) has announced that its new co-chairman is to be Shailesh Vara MP. Mr Vara will be joining Ranjit Singh Baxi as co-chairman of the group.
CF India said that Mr Vara brought a wealth of experience to the role, which he has held previously. He is a former justice minister and minister in the Department for Work and Pensions as well as having served as a government whip.
Mr Baxi said in a statement: “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.”
Mr Vara’s appointment follows the recent ministerial reshuffle, when Alok Sharma MP, who had been the CF India co-chairman, was made Minister for Asia at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Mr Sharma will be working with Boris Johnson to build vital links with India following Brexit.
Speaking about his most recent appointment Mr Vara said: “I am delighted to be co-chairman of CF India again. 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. 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.”
In 2014 Mr Vara was awarded the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman by the Indian government 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.