Pressure mounts on UK to retract ‘India-administered Kashmir’ remark
UK foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt, in his comment on Pulwama terror attack, referred to Jammu and Kashmir as “India-administered Kashmir”.Updated: Feb 19, 2019 19:43 IST
A senior MP of the ruling Conservative party on Tuesday joined calls for foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt to retract his conception of Jammu and Kashmir as ‘India-administered Kashmir’ in a statement last week following the Pulwama terror attack.
The incident drew condemnation from across the political spectrum, but riled many over the phrase used, including senior Labour MP Virendra Sharma, who wrote to Hunt. The latest to seek retraction is Bob Blackman, MP from Harrow East.
He wrote to Hunt: “In your tweet you refer to the state as ‘India-administered Kashmir’ which implies that India has expanded its territory at the expense of another nation. This is, of course, factually incorrect as Jammu and Kashmir has always been an integral part of India. Since its inception in 1947, it chose to be part of India.”
“Your language may offend and again, I suggest retracting this phrase. Whilst I am writing, might I also ask what support the UK is providing to our friends in India in their ongoing battle against terrorists,” Blackman asked.
It has been a long-standing policy of the Foreign Office to use ‘India-administered Kashmir’ to refer to Jammu and Kashmir, which has often raised hackles in Indian circles. The terminology is believed to be prompted by compulsions of UK’s relations with Pakistan.
Hunt’s tweet drew criticism from many in India, UK and elsewhere.
Sharma, MP from Ealing Southall, wrote to him: “In your tweet, you use the phrase ‘India-administered Kashmir’, which is deeply offensive to many in India, and this country, as it suggests that India is a colonising nation, whereas the state chose to join India in 1947 due to the constitutional commitment to secularism and plurality.”
Foreign Office minister for Asia Tariq Ahmad met Indian high commissioner Ruchi Ghanshyam and conveyed condolences over the Pulwama deaths, adding, “India is a key partner for the UK across trade, security and culture.”
Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament, said, “I’m deeply saddened by the terrorist attack in Kashmir. Thoughts are with the Indian security personnel killed and injured by this appalling crime.”