British Prime Minister Theresa May has said that the UK’s stand on Kashmir remains unchanged and it is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan to address.
The issue was raised in the House of Commons during the weekly Prime Minister’s Questions session by Pakistani-born Labour MP Yasmin Qureshi, who asked if the Kashmir issue would form part of May’s discussions during her visit to India next month.
“I take the same view as this government has since it came into power, and indeed previously, which is that the issue of Kashmir is a matter for India and Pakistan to deal with and sort out,” the British PM said in Parliament, clearly indicating that Kashmir was unlikely to be on the agenda during her bilateral talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi when she visits India between November 6 and 8.
Qureshi, who represents a heavily Pakistani-origin constituency of Bolton in north-west England, had questioned in the Commons: “Will the Prime Minister meet with me and cross-party colleagues to discuss the human rights abuses and the issue of self-determination for Kashmiri people, as was set out in the resolution of the UN in 1948 and can she raise this issue with the Indian Prime Minister.”
May, while dismissing any meeting herself, said: “The foreign secretary [Boris Johnson] has heard her representations and I am sure will be interested in taking those issues up with her.”
The British PM is scheduled to arrive in New Delhi on November 6 for her first overseas bilateral visit outside Europe.
Besides inaugurating the India-UK Tech Summit alongside Modi, she will be holding talks with her Indian counterpart before heading to Bengaluru.
May will be accompanied by a business delegation comprising small and medium enterprises from across the UK and her international trade minister, Liam Fox.
EXPERT VIEW FROM INDIAGBNEWS SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT ALINE DOBBIE Twitter: @AlineDobbie
“Kashmir has been a great challenge to India from the time of Partition; sadly expediency and perhaps a lack of courage and commitment initially post partition allowed this beautiful special State to become a sad political football where peoples’ lives are shattered and lives are lost through unrest or terrorism. There appear not to be solutions to this challenge and I yearn to see a place about which everyone who knows it talks with nostalgia and praise for its beauty. Now a major flower bulb growing area to rival even Holland with its display of tulips in the springtime….my late Father’s nostalgia for it still rings clear in my mind.”