Receiving severe backlash from the Indian diaspora in Britain for passing a resolution on Kashmir mirroring Pakistan’s stand, the UK’ Labour Party has now retracted its previous statement. In a complete turnaround, the Labour Party’s chairperson, Ian Lavery, has called Kashmir a ‘bilateral issue’ and said that it should be resolved by India and Pakistan. It states that the Labour party is opposed to external interference in the political affairs of any other country.
The statement said it recognises that the language used in the emergency resolution passed by them in the month of September has caused displeasure in some sections of the Indian diaspora and in India itself and regrets the same. In the statement, the chairman of the Labour Party said that it holds the Indian diaspora community in the highest regard and appreciate the contributions made by Indians to the UK’ economy.
It furthered that the party will not adopt any anti-India or anti-Pakistan stand and would stay neutral on the Kashmir issue. The earlier resolution, however, called for a ‘mediation’ over the issue and was highly critical of India over the so-called ‘human rights violations’ that Pakistan keeps repeating ad-nauseam.
Taking severe offence at the openly anti-India stand over the Kashmir issue displayed by the Labour party, the Indian diaspora in Britain had decided to reject the Labour party electorally in the upcoming elections and had decided to actively campaign for the incumbent Conservative Party in the UK general election.
According to the reports, the Indian diaspora had decided to put their weight behind the Boris Johnson led Conservative party also known as the ‘Tories’ in the 48 marginal seats that go to polls on December 12. The Indian groups are campaigning for the ruling party and asking Indian-origin voters not to vote for the Labour party.
The Indian diaspora campaign against the Labour Party had come as a response for its anti-India stand. On September 25, the Labour Party had passed a resolution that supported “international intervention in Kashmir and a call for UN led-referendum.” The motion was submitted by UK Labour’s British Pakistani politician Uzma Rasool.
Indian foreign ministry had taken notice of the resolution and had immediately condemned it, calling it ‘pandering of vote bank interests’ by Labours politicians from Pakistani-Muslim dominated regions.
The resolution passed by the Labour party had asked Corbyn to meet the high commissioners of both India and Pakistan to ensure there is “mediation” and restoration of peace and normality to prevent a potential nuclear conflict. The Labour party’s stand on Kashmir is contrary to India’s position on Kashmir. India has categorically told the international community that its move on Kashmir was an internal matter. India has always maintained that any dialogues with Pakistan will be bilateral only.
Notably, prominent Pakistan-origin people associated with the Labour Party, and even several Labour party MPs in the UK were part of anti-India protests where Pakistanis attacked the Indian High Commission in the UK in September 2019 on abrogation of Article 370 in J&K.
Since the British Indians constitute a considerable number and also contribute significantly towards the business and economy in Britain, their vote in the upcoming elections and could be a gamechanger if they vote en masse for one single party in the UK elections. Fearing political ramifications of mirroring Pakistan’s lines, Labour Party has probably been compelled to eat’s its own words.