LONDON:British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said stressing that it is for India and Pakistan to find a lasting solution to the Kashmir issue in accordance with the wishes of the Kashmiri people.
Reiterating the UK government’s stand on Kashmir, Johnson described both India and Pakistan as “important partners to the UK” in a letter dated September 6 in response to a letter written last month by Conservative Party MP Bob Blackman, who supported India’s decision to revoke Article 370 and withdraw the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
“The government’s long-standing position remains that it is for India and Pakistan to find a lasting political solution to the situation in Kashmir, in accordance with the wishes of the Kashmiri people,” Johnson noted.
He also repeated the UK government stance for “calm and restraint” as he stressed that he remains in regular contact with both Indian and Pakistani governments as Britain continues to monitor the situation in Kashmir closely.
“Both India and Pakistan are important partners to the UK. Our respective bilateral relationships continue to flourish. This is demonstrated by cooperation with both countries on a range of issues, as well as the vibrancy of our people-to-people links bolstered by large and active Indian and Pakistani diaspora here in the UK,” Johnson added.
Blackman, the north London MP who has been a long-time supporter of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had issued his letter as part of a tit-for-tat letter spat triggered in the UK in the days after the revocation of Article 370.
“Constitutional changes are an internal matter for India. 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,” he wrote, calling on the British PM to condemn the Opposition Labour Party for breaking from Britain’s long-held position that any matter concerning Kashmir was a “strictly bilateral issue”.
The Tory MP accused the Opposition MPs of making provocative claims against India which has a long-established tradition of respecting all faiths in his letter, which attracted support on social media from a wide range of BJP supporters.