Thank you for contacting me about the recent decision of the Indian Government to suspend Article 370 of the Indian Constitution relating to Kashmir.
Article 370 granted a significant degree of autonomy to Indian-administered Kashmir, including its own constitution, a separate flag, and independence of all matters except foreign affairs, defence and communications. I can completely understand the level of concern and anxiety expressed by my constituents about this decision.
I fully support the UK’s long-standing position that it is for India and Pakistan to find a lasting political resolution, taking into account the wishes of the Kashmiri people. It is not for the UK government to prescribe a solution or act as a mediator and to do so be inappropriate.
The Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, has previously spoken to the Indian Foreign Minister about Kashmir and this decision. I believe it is completely correct for him to have expressed the UK’s government’s concerns about this escalation of tensions, however, he also received a clear readout of the situation from the perspective of the Indian government.
India and Pakistan are close and long-standing friends of the UK. The UK’s bilateral ties with both countries are long and deep, and they are bolstered by the UK’s large Indian and Pakistani diaspora communities, including in the Aylesbury constituency. I join the UK Government in encouraging both countries to find diplomatic solutions to the underlying causes of conflict.
Dialogue is an important confidence-building mechanism, even though I recognise the complexities involved. However, I can assure you that the UK Government continues to work tirelessly through all diplomatic channels to encourage further de-escalation and to ensure long-term regional stability. The UK Government does this alongside international partners and with a wide range of counterparts in India and Pakistan.
I will continue to follow developments closely, and I expect India and Pakistan to focus on securing longer-term regional stability and security.