British ruled Indian subcontinent for around 200 years. However, the rule was not merely authoritarian. The Britishers had arrived in India for business. When Britishers arrived, several continents were engaged in businesses. Middle East countries(the Arabs) were the prime business owners of spices.
Spices were a prized possession in Britain then. It was part of the luxury and only a few could afford it. Britishers saw an opportunity here in India. They would buy pepper & cloves from Indian subcontinent and sell it to the masses in Britain. They would also re-export it to other Baltic countries. Earlier, Britishers would rely upon Dutch and Arab traders to get them spices. By establishing themselves in Indian subcontinent Britishers could now participate in an existing business networks.
The pepper we see lying on a dining table in England has its origin in the Indian subcontinent. This is very typical of several commodities in the world we live in. They travel thousand of miles across the world, changing lives of people while seeming too insignificant.