Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday acknowledged the "beneficial consequences" of British colonial rule like "free press, constitutional government, professional service, modern universities and research laboratories".
Speaking at Oxford after receiving a honorary degree of Doctor of Civil Law, Dr Singh said, "Today, with the balance and perspective offered by the passage of time and the benefit of hindsight, it is possible for an Indian prime minister to assert that India's experience with Britain had its beneficial consequences too."
He added: "Our notions of the rule of law, of a constitutional government, of a free press, of a professional civil service, of modern universities and research laboratories have all been fashioned in the crucible where an age-old civilisation met the dominant Empire of the day."
Dr. Singh said India's struggle for independence was more an assertion by Indians of their "natural right to self-governance" than an outright rejection of the "British claim to good governance."
Both India and Britain had "learnt" from each other and had much to teach the world. "This is perhaps the most enduring aspect of the Indo-British encounter," Dr. Singh added.