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UK MP Bob Blackman urges not to recognise 'Conservative Friends of Kashmir' group

News Agencies | Updated on: 29 September 2020, 8:30 IST

Expressing concern over the recent formation of Conservative Friends of Kashmir group, Bob Blackman, Member of British Parliament, has objected to any recognition be given to the group.

In a letter to Amanda Milling, MP, Blackman wrote, "The creation of the so-called Conservative Friends of Kashmir will cause severe tensions not only between these existing two groups [Conservative Friends of India and Conservative Friends of Pakistan] -- which have co-existed without any significant conflict thus far -- but also alienate a large percentage of voters, in many cases who switched to our Party for the first time at the recent General Election due to the Labour Party's handling of relations with India."

He further said, "This group fails to even recognise the existence of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, which is viewed as an integral part of India. The closest analogy would be having a Conservative Friends of Spain alongside Conservative Friends of Catalonia."

He pointed out that the UK Government and Labour Party do not interfere with any territorial or border disputes between India and Pakistan as it is a bilateral issue.

"Jammu and Kashmir is internationally recognised as a state of India and we do not have any other "Conservative Friends" that represent other areas of India. Indeed, Party policy is that security in Jammu and Kashmir is an internal matter for India and you will know that I have previously written to the Prime Minister regarding the issue and he re-iterated Party policy on Jammu and Kashmir both in writing and also on the floor of the House of Commons," the MP added.

Urging the Party not to recognise the 'Conservative Friends of Kashmir' group, Bobman said, "Colleagues and I strongly believe that should this group be recognised by the Party it will set an extremely unhelpful precedent and open the door to other equally unfavourable groups such as "Conservative Friends of Khalistan" which would, of course, erode a second large group of voters that we worked tirelessly to convince to lend us their support at the 2019 General Election."


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First published: 29 September 2020, 8:30 IST