No say in Jammu & Kashmir, says UK after Commons debate
The Theresa May government on Thursday reiterated Britain’s long-standing position that it is for the governments of India and Pakistan to find a solution to the dispute in Jammu and Kashmir, adding it cannot play a role beyond encouraging them to continue the dialogue.world Updated: Jan 19, 2017 21:44 IST
The Theresa May government on Thursday reiterated Britain’s long-standing position that it is for the governments of India and Pakistan to find a solution to the dispute in Jammu and Kashmir, adding it cannot play a role beyond encouraging them to continue the dialogue.
Speaking at the end of a three-hour debate in the House of Commons, Foreign Office minister Alok Sharma said Jammu and Kashmir had a long and complex history, and noted estimates that nearly two-thirds of British Pakistan hailed from the Pakistan side of Jammu and Kashmir.
The debate was to discuss a motion on “escalation in violence and breaches of international human rights on the Indian side of the Line of Control in Kashmir”, and issues related to it. There were passionate speeches from most of the 19 participating MPs.
Speakers included Virendra Sharma, Bob Blackman, Nusrat Ghani and Shabana Mahmood.
Issues raised included the use of pellet guns by Indian security forces in Jammu and Kashmir, Indian laws related to security, and the UN high commissioner for human rights.
Sharma said: “India and Pakistan are both longstanding and important friends of the United Kingdom and we have significant links to both countries through diapora communities. We also have strong bilateral relations with both countries”.
“The longstanding position of the UK is that it can neither prescribe a solution to Kashmir nor act as a mediator. It is for the governments of India and Pakistan to find a lasting resolution taking into account the wishes of the Kashmiri people. We encourage both sides to maintain positive dialogue but the pace of this is for both of them to determine”.
Sharma said the issue attracted much attention at various levels. He noted that the Indian security forces had stopped using pellet guns, and recalled joint declaration between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former Prime Minister David Cameron in November last on the issue of jointly combating terrorism.