British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that the UK is monitoring the situation in Kashmir closely and wants India and Pakistan to find a “lasting political solution to the situation in Kashmir, in accordance with the wishes of the Kashmiri people.”
In a letter dated September 6, in reply to a letter by Conservative MP Bob Blackman who has spoken in favour of revocation of Article 370 in Kashmir, Johnson said both India and Pakistan are important partners for Britain.
The letter stated that the UK government is monitoring the situation in Kashmir and that there has been regular contact with both the Indian and Pakistani governments.
Boris Johnson further stated that he spoke with Pakistan PM Imran Khan on August 7 and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 20 and urged for calm and restraint from both the sides.
He further said that the UK’s Foreign Secretary had also held talks with Indian counterpart S Jaishankar on the Kashmir issue.
On August 5, India revoked special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and bifurcated the state into two Union Territories.
The letter to Blackman read: “Thank you for your letter of 9 August regarding current events in Kashmir.
The Ministry of External Affairs, when asked about the British PM’s statement, told IANS that it has noted that the UK was for the Kashmir issue to be resolved bilaterally between the two nations.
“We note that the UK is for India and Pakistan to resolve the issue bilaterally,” the MEA source told IANS.
Amidst social media clash between British parliamentarians on India’s decision to scrap the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir, Conservative lawmaker Bob Blackman had stressed that the Constitutional changes are an “internal matter” for India.
Blackman in a letter to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, “There is a widely respected convention that we do not interfere in the domestic affairs of a third country, especially a long-standing friend and ally like India”.
The spat among the British parliamentarians started after the leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn tweeted that the situation in the region was “disturbing”.
Corbyn’s tweet followed after a letter from a British Labour MP who urged Johnson to take steps against the so-called “illegal” actions undertaken by India.
In response to the provocative letter by the Labour MP, Blackman stated, “Whilst not wishing to break this convention, it appears very strange that Labour MPs are criticising the Indian Government for equalising the rights of all its citizens.”
“Surely such a step should be welcomed in any democracy,” the lawmaker said.
Blackman, in his letter, also said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s democratically elected government is “perfectly entitled to implement its own election manifesto which explicitly proposed these constitutional changes to Articles 370 and 35A”.
“Labour MPs should not be so surprised if an elected government keeps its promises. In making these changes it wishes to promote prosperity in the region by improving security and attracting inward investment in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.