Tax is definitely likely to have figured on the menu of talks Prime Minister Narendra Modi had with business leaders in the UK. After all, the troubles of Vodafone Group Plc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc with the Indian taxman came to symbolize the instability of the Indian tax regime. Those disputes, one of which was compounded by a retrospective tax law, have been or are in the process of being resolved (both disputes date back to the previous government).

Meanwhile, retrospective trouble of another sort has surfaced. A group of Indians wants the UK to return the Kohinoor diamond, which was taken by the British from India in the mid-19th century and now adorns the royal crown.

The group’s suit is unlikely to see the return of the diamond, but it does reflect a new sense of Indianness coursing through Indians everywhere who, if the UK is willing to return the stone, would be happy to exchange it for Macaulay’s heritage.

Close