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Keir Starmer, Set To Be Next UK PM, Changed Labour Party Stance On Kashmir


Keir Starmer, Set To Be Next UK PM, Changed Party's Stance On Kashmir


One of the first challenges for Keir Starmer as the UK Prime Minister will be to restore the Labour Party’s ties with India, which has been tumultuous due to their remarks on Kashmir. Starmer led the party to a landslide win in the general elections, a result that spelt doom for Rishi Sunak’s Conservative Party.  

In the past, the Labour Party has often come under fire for their stand on the Kashmir issue. Their stance has been in stark contrast with the British government’s view that Kashmir is a bilateral matter between India and Pakistan.

Under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, the party had in September 2019 passed an emergency motion seeking international observers to “enter” Kashmir and demand the right of self-determination for its people. It also called for Mr Corbyn to meet the high commissioners of both India and Pakistan to ensure there is “mediation” and restoration of peace and normality to prevent a potential nuclear conflict.

The resolution was slammed by India which called it an effort to “pander to vote-bank’s interest”.

Starmer, realising how important ties with the world’s fastest-growing economy are, set out on a mission to fix the missteps made by the party in the past. His manifesto included a commitment to pursue a “new strategic partnership” with India, emphasizing the trade agreement.

During meetings with the Indian diaspora and public addresses, Starmer affirmed that Kashmir is an internal issue and will be resolved by India and Pakistan.

“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 said during a meeting with Labour Friends of India.

During his poll campaign, Starmer embarked on outreach efforts, denouncing Hinduphobia and celebrating cultural festivals like Diwali and Holi.

This policy adjustment aims to rebuild trust with the British-Indian community and foster stronger business ties with India, a critical aspect of Labour’s international agenda.

The Labour Party, out of power for over a decade, has also outlined a foreign policy of “progressive realism,” emphasizing pragmatic approaches to global challenges such as climate change and international security. Starmer’s manifesto includes plans for a new strategic partnership with India, focusing on trade agreements and cooperation in technology, security, education, and environmental issues.

Labour passed the magic number of 326 seats for a House of Commons majority just before 5 am on Friday, confirming a change of government that was predicted for months but is still a remarkable turnaround for Starmer’s party in a single electoral cycle. Starmer will now replace Sunak as prime minister on Friday, ending the Tories’ 14-year grip on power.

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