UK MPs debate over Kashmir is based on ‘false assertions’: Indian High Commission
The debate was organised by some backbench British MPs in the Westminster Hall on Wednesday
India has expressed its unhappiness over the manner some backbench British lawmakers participated in a debate on Jammu and Kashmir and made “unsubstantiated allegations” propagated by a “third country.”
The debate titled the ‘Political Situation in Kashmir’ was proposed by Labour MP Sarah Owen and conducted in the Westminster Hall on Wednesday.
“Regarding the reference to ‘Kashmir’ in the title: the need is felt to differentiate between the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, which is an integral part of India, and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (when the erstwhile princely state of Kashmir legally acceded to India in October 1947, this part was forcibly and illegally occupied by Pakistan),” the London-based Indian High Commission said in a statement.
Making a strong rebuttal to British MPs “false assertions”, the High Commission further said, “Despite the volumes of authentic information available in the public domain-based on up to date and visible facts on the ground” the lawmakers in the Westminster Hall, “instead chose to reflect false assertions of the kind promoted by a third country,” a veiled reference to Pakistan.
The High Commission attacked British MPs like Barry Gardiner for not being fair in their assessment of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. “They neither acknowledge the feelings of hope and optimism among people of Jammu and Kashmir nor the atrocities being committed daily in the part of Kashmir that is illegally occupied by this third country—which is recognised as a global epicentre of terrorism, a safe haven for more than 120 UN proscribed terror entities and individuals (confessed to by its Prime Minister) and perpetrator of state-sponsored cross-border terrorism for over 70 years in Jammu and Kashmir-and the rest of India.”
Responding to the debate, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) Minister Nigel Adams reiterated the official stance that it is not for Britain to play any mediatory role in a bilateral India-Pakistan matter.
“The government’s policy [on Kashmir] remains stable, it’s unchanged. We continue to believe that this is for India and Pakistan to find a lasting political resolution to the situation that takes into account the wishes of the Kashmiri people… as laid out in the Simla Agreement,” said Adams. He also said, “It’s not appropriate for the UK government to prescribe a solution or act as a mediator in this regard.” The Minister also made a reference to the District Development Council (DDC) democratic elections held in the region in December last year, which Labour Party MP Barry Gardiner pointed out attracted the free and fair participation of over 50% of the local electorate.