Keir Starmer changes Labour position on Kashmir conflict

Keir Starmer says Kashmir conflict a 'matter for the Indian parliament', moving away from Corbyn

2 min read
30 April, 2020
Labour leader hopeful Keir Starmer has changed Labour's position on the Kashmir conflict, calling it a matter between India and Pakistan.
Starmer changed Labour's position in a pivot away from Corbyn [Getty]

New Labour leader Keir Starmer has changed Labour’s position on the decades long territorial issues between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, saying the issue should be left between the two Asian countries in a move away from his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn.

This comes just one year after the Labour party, then led by Jeremy Corbyn, passed an emergency motion on Kashmir at its annual conference.

It said there was a humanitarian crisis in the disputed territory and that the people of Kashmir should be given the right to self-determination.

“We must not allow issues of the sub-continent to divide communities here,” Starmer said after a meeting with the executive team of Labour Friends of India (LFIN) this morning.

“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,” he added.

“Labour is an internationalist party and stands for the defence of human rights everywhere.”

Corbyn is a vocal critic of India’s actions in Muslim-majority Kashmir, and his reticence was condemned by some members of the British Indian community.

In November last year the LFIN called the motion he tabled “anti-Indian rhetoric contained in the emergency motion on Kashmir”.

In 2019 Corbyn tweeted: “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.”

This comes as a US government panel on Tuesday called for India to be put on a religious freedom blacklist over a "drastic" downturn under Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

"In 2019, religious freedom conditions in India experienced a drastic turn downward, with religious minorities under increasing assault," the report said.

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