Will alienate Indian diaspora, UK MP writes to chair of ruling Conservative Party over group on Kashmir

WION New Delhi Oct 01, 2020, 05.21 PM(IST) Written By: Sidhant Sibal

File photo. Photograph:( AFP )

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The recent UK general elections saw the Indian diaspora shifting from Labour Party to the Conservative due to the former's stance on Kashmir.

UK MP Bob Blackman of the ruling Conservative Party in the country has written to chairman of the party, raising concerns against a group being announced in the party called "conservative friends of Kashmir" which may have long term implication, especially on the large Indian diaspora. 

In the letter, he asked the party to make it clear officially that the group is "not an officially recognised body and has no links to the party" and therefore cannot use party logo or branding. 

Highlighting the impact to the party, Bob in his letter to the Chairman of Conservative Party Amanda Milling said, "creation of this "conservative friends" group....risks alienating the diaspora that we have worked so hard and for so long, to cultivate and encourage to switch to our party. I cannot emphasize enough how emotive this issue is to our Indian diaspora."

Amanda Milling is the chairman of the conservative party along with Ben Elliot. The role of the chairman is party administration.

Bob elaborated that, "creation of the so-called conservative friends of Kashmir will cause severe tensions" between the already existing groups - conservative friends of India and conservative friends of Pakistan and "alienate a large percentage of voters". 

The recent UK general elections saw the Indian diaspora shifting from Labour Party to the Conservative due to the former's stance on Kashmir.  In fact, the decision taken at the Labour party conference on Kashmir, which was seen as considerably anti-India led to switching of allegiance of the British Indians to conservatives. 

The UK MP said in the letter, "As we approach our Party's Conference this year, we must now follow the same path as the Labour party last year and risk alienating a large section of voters".

"Jammu and Kashmir is internationally recognized as a state of India and we do not have any other "conservative friends" that represent other areas of India...Party Policy is that security in Jammu and Kashmir is an internal matter for India and you know that I have previously written to PM regarding the issue and he reiterated Party Policy on Jammu and Kashmir both in writing and also on the floor of the house of commons".

The official stance of the Conservative Party and UK government on Kashmir is that is bilateral matter between India and Pakistan.

Bob Blackman is the vice-chairman of the conservative friends of India and the chairman and vice-chairman of number of All-Party Parliamentary groups related to India.

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