UK govt tells India it won't interfere in Kashmir Day event: report

Published February 1, 2019
Spokesperson of India's Ministry of External Affairs Raveesh Kumar speaks to the media during a weekly briefing in New Delhi. — Photo courtesy India Today
Spokesperson of India's Ministry of External Affairs Raveesh Kumar speaks to the media during a weekly briefing in New Delhi. — Photo courtesy India Today

After the Indian government lodged a protest with the United Kingdom over a Kashmir solidarity event to be held in the British parliament on Feb 4, the UK government said it would not interfere in the matter, India Today reported on Friday.

Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said during a media briefing on Thursday that Delhi had taken the matter of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Pakistan's event ─ scheduled to be held in the House of Commons ─ highlighting human rights violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir "very strongly" with the UK.

"We hope that they will understand our objections to the proposed conference and take appropriate action," Kumar said. Describing the UK as "a friendly country and strategic partner", Kumar said India was hopeful and "expected" that the British government would address Delhi's concerns.

The UK, however, said it would not interfere in the matter, with the British High Commission (BHC) spokesperson in New Delhi asserting that "UK's Members of Parliament are independent of the government; it is for individual members to decide who they meet and for what purpose".

According to a press release issued by Foreign Office, the Feb 4 meeting will be followed by an exhibition in London to "highlight the centrality of [India-occupied] Jammu and Kashmir dispute and the grave human rights violations against the Kashmiri people by India which are being widely condemned and need to be immediately stopped".

The meeting will be attended by MPs of both Labour and Conservative parties. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi is also expected to attend the event.

The BHC spokesperson in New Delhi told India Today that the UK government is aware that "Mr Qureshi is travelling to London to attend a number of private events. There are no plans for meetings with the UK Government during this visit."

"The UK's longstanding position is that it is for India and Pakistan to find a lasting political resolution to the situation in Kashmir, taking into account the Kashmiri people's wishes," the spokesperson added.

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