Seventy years later and the Brits still haven't got the Kashmir handle right - Firstpost
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Seventy years later and the Brits still haven't got the Kashmir handle right


What’s with the Brits? Have they got this wrong or have they got this wrong? And why are we doing nothing about it?

Kashmir is not administered by India. Kashmir is integral to India. So how come the United Kingdom is still getting away with it.

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. PTI

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. PTI

UK’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s promise to have his nation stand shoulder to shoulder with India in the fight against terrorism was sincere and touching, coming as it did from a man known not to pull his punches. Boris Johnson, it is said, says it like he sees it. Rough and tumble is fine but get it right.

The UK, he said, condemns all forms of terrorism and supports all efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice.This was 18 September.

I would like to cry us a river at this flow of sentiment if the Uri incident Boris refers to was not labelled as having occurred in ‘Indian-administered Kashmir.’

It dried up my river pretty fast and it says very little for our foreign policy that we have allowed our former colonial power and current supposedly good friend to continue this parody and make it look like Kashmir is not an integral part of India. Oxford Street, Bond Street, Madame Tussauds, Big ben, Trafalgar and Southall and Tooting. Like our second home, what?

It is time we took up this issue and perhaps the new High Commissioner Yash Sinha is just the man to set the ball rolling or speed it up.

I am confident, knowing the diplomat these past forty years, that he would be equally surprised that in its official statements the UK allows this phrase to be bandied about against all norms of diplomacy.

In the cosmic sense it does not matter I guess because India can rise above it but I wonder how Boris would respond if India’s official or demi-official correspondence began to say England administered Scotland or English administered Wales. The Scots fought their first battle of independence in 1296 (which they won) so it has been a pretty decent whack of time and the sentiment to leave the UK was brought again to the fore during the Brexit movement.

As for Northern Ireland they pretty much echo the Scottish stance and not just on Brexit. As Ian Bremmer wrote in July in the Time magazine: "Brexit has exposed the fault lines dividing the U.K.’s four constituent pieces: Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland and England. Add London to the mix, and Brexit makes clear that there’s nothing inevitable about a “United Kingdom” going forward. Disunited is more on the mark.

By that token, it wouldn’t go down very well would it if India began to follow the Whitehall line and there seem to be a lot more grounds for it then there are for Boris Johnson to fling that prefix at India. Seventy years down the tube they are still fiddling around with our borders.

It is also politically and diplomatically inaccurate. There is no dispute about Kashmir being an integral part of India and is not to be equated with PoK which is an anomaly and open to debate.

Perhaps the time has come for New Delhi to see the categorization as downright offensive and to officially protest against its use by a friendly country. Whenever, for example, Israel reads or sees the phrase ‘Occupied territories’ it makes a right royal song and dance about it.

The support from London would be a lot more appreciated in India without the present characterization. So come on, Boris, get with it.

First Published On : Oct 4, 2016 22:54 IST

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