India deplores 'false assertions' in UK Parliament Kashmir debate

India has expressed its dismay at some of the parliamentarians who participated in a debate on Kashmir in the Houses of Parliament complex in London relying on “false assertions” and unsubstantiated allegations propagated by a “third country” – an apparent reference to Pakistan.

The debate, organised by backbench British MPs at Westminster Hall in the House of Commons on Wednesday evening, was entitled “Political situation in Kashmir” – terminology the Indian High Commission in London pointed out as problematic in itself.

“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 High Commission said in a statement.

“It was also noted that references to the Indian Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, despite the volumes of authentic information available in the public domain – based on up to date and visible facts on the ground – ignored current ground reality and, instead chose to reflect false assertions of the kind promoted by a third country, such as unsubstantiated allegations of ‘genocide’, ‘rampant violence’ and ‘torture’,” it noted.

The Indian High Commission in London sought to highlight that since last year, a smart wi-fi project has enabled high-speed internet access in the region and that despite threats of terror attacks, challenging weather conditions and the COVID-19 pandemic, landmark DDC elections were concluded in December 2020.

“Since the administrative reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir in August 2019, it is well on the path of good governance and accelerated development. All administrative measures taken by the Government of India in Jammu and Kashmir are entirely an internal matter of India,” the Indian High Commission statement said.

“Regarding the reference to peace and stability of our region, it is reiterated that India stands ready to engage with Pakistan on all outstanding issues – including on Jammu and Kashmir in accordance with the Shimla Agreement (1972) and the Lahore Declaration (1999) in an atmosphere free from terror, hostility and violence,” it noted.

The statement asserted that while it was not the policy of India to take “undue interest” in the internal discussions within a foreign Parliament, the High Commission of India continues to engage with all concerned – including the UK government and parliamentarians – to avoid “misperceptions and misinformation” by making authentic information about India available to all. PTI