The new leader of the Labour Party, Keir Starmer, has dropped his party’s position on Kashmir, which his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn took before losing the election to Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Starmer, after meeting with the executive team of Labour Friends of India (LFIN), repositioned Labour on Kashmir, announcing that is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan and the United Kingdom has no role in it.
Writing in the Labour Party mouthpiece – Labourlist – Karl Starmer said “We must not allow issues of the sub-continent to divide communities here.”
“Any constitutional issues in India are a matter for the Indian Parliament, and Kashmir is a bilateral issue for India and Pakistan to resolve peacefully.”
“Labour is an internationalist party and stands for the defence of human rights everywhere,” he stated further after his meeting with the executive team LFIN on Thursday morning.
Starmer’s repositioning of his party’s stance on the matter came in a bid to rebuild links with the British Indian community, especially after the LFIN had warned during the Jeremy Corbyn era that its relationship with the Labour was “strained”.
Campaigners had warned the party that they had risked taking the “support of the Indian community for granted’.
The row exploded last November at the Labour’s 2019 conference, when the LFIN had condemned the “anti-Indian rhetoric contained in the emergency motion on Kashmir”, according to the media outlet.
Labour delegates had then passed a motion criticising the actions of India in the Kashmiri conflict, and said that the people of Kashmir should have self-determination rights.
The policy motion approved by the conference had also called for international monitors to be admitted to the region, the media reported.
In addition, Corbyn had also made his views clear, tweeting in August 2019: “The situation in Kashmir is deeply disturbing. Human rights abuses taking place are unacceptable.
“The rights of the Kashmiri people must be respected and UN resolutions implemented,” he had said further.
But in a bid to heal the rift, newly elected leader Starmer vowed to work closely with the group to further promote UK-India ties, Labourlist reported.
“A Labour government under my leadership will be determined to build even stronger business links with India and to co-operate on the global stage on issues such as climate change,” Starmer said.
“I look forward to meeting the Indian High Commissioner in due course to open a renewed dialogue between the Labour Party and the people of India,” he added.
Meanwhile, appreciating the new move by the Labour Party, Rajesh Agrawal, LFIN co-chair and deputy mayor of London for business, commented: “I really welcome his commitment to rebuilding strong links between the Labour Party and the Indian community.
“This has been a great start and Keir has achieved a lot in the short span of couple of weeks. Labour Friends of India will work closely with him and will continue to promote UK-India ties as well as continuing to raise any issues from the community to the leadership,” Agrawal said.
Starmer replaced Jeremy Corbyn this month as the new leader of the Labour Party.
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