Modern Indian History-Events and Personalities

Significance of UK labor party’s remarks on Kashmir


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: India in Labour Party (UK) manifestos

Mains level: Not Much

The UK Labour party’s newly appointed leader Keir Starmer said Kashmir was a bilateral issue for India and Pakistan to resolve peacefully. These remarks were seen as an attempt to re-position his party’s stance on Kashmir and reach out to the Indian community in Britain.

What was the Labour party’s stance before?

  • The party’s relations with the Indian diaspora have been strained, especially after its delegates passed an emergency policy motion in September 2019 criticizing India’s decision to revoke Article 370.
  • It maintained that the people of Kashmir should have self-determination rights.

Why is the Labour Party’s relationship with the Indian diaspora important?

  • Indians are the largest ethnic community in the UK, numbering over 1.5 million people or accounting for over 2.3 per cent of the country’s population.
  • Therefore, they form a significant vote share for any party.
  • In the 2017 general elections, 50 per cent of the Indians living in the UK had voted for Labour.

India in Labour Party (UK) manifestos

Over the years, issues relating to India have found various mention in many election manifestos in the UK:

  • 1945: India’s freedom had been a campaign promise of the Labour party, its manifesto pledging “the advancement of India to responsible self-government”.
  • 1947: The Indian Independence Act, 1947, was passed when Attlee was Prime Minister.
  • 1949: all the Commonwealth Prime Ministers welcomed the free choice of India, Pakistan and Ceylon to join the Commonwealth as full and equal members.
  • 2019: Issue a formal apology for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.

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