UK Elections: In Keir Starmer’s Win, A ‘Kashmir’ Headache For India? | India News

New Delhi: As the winds of change sweep through the political landscape of Britain, the Labour Party, led by Keir Starmer, is poised to take the majority in the 650-seat House of Commons and end the 14 years of Conservative rule. However, the impact of this shift in India, a crucial partner of the UK, which is currently engaged in trade deal negotiations, remains to be seen.  

One of Keir Starmer’s first challenges as UK Prime Minister will be to repair the Labour Party’s strained relations with New Delhi, which have been troubled by the party’s contentious stance on Kashmir. 

UK’s Labour Party On Kashmir  

The Labour Party has frequently faced criticism for its position on the Kashmir issue, which sharply contrasts with the British government’s view that Kashmir is a bilateral matter between India and Pakistan.  

In 2019, when the Indian government removed Article 370, the Labour Party stated that Kashmir is a “disputed territory” and that the people there should have the right to decide their own future, as per UN resolutions.  

Under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, the Party passed an emergency motion calling for international observers to ‘enter’ Kashmir. The motion also urged Corbyn to meet with the high commissioners of India and Pakistan to mediate and restore peace, aiming to prevent a potential nuclear conflict.  

India criticised the resolution, calling it an attempt to cater to vote-bank interests.  

Starmer’s Election Manifesto  

In his manifesto, he highlighted the commitment to seek a “new strategic partnership” with India, with a strong focus on the trade agreement. During the election campaigning period, Starmer tried his best to destagmatize his party’s image as ‘Hinduphobic’ by celebrating Holi and Diwali.  

In meetings with the Indian diaspora and public addresses, Starmer made it clear that Kashmir is an internal matter to be resolved by India and Pakistan.

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