To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of peace and stability in the south Asian region, particularly in the light of the current tension and cross-border firing between India and Pakistan at the Kashmir Line of Control.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): My Lords, we are concerned about the recent incidents that have taken place on both sides of the line of control and international border between India and Pakistan. Our long-standing position is that it is for India and Pakistan to find a lasting resolution that takes into account the wishes of the Kashmiri people. It is not for the United Kingdom to prescribe a solution or to mediate in finding one.
Lord Hussain (LD): I thank the Minister for that Answer. We know that India and Pakistan have been to war three times over Kashmir. If any of these tensions escalate into another war, now that both countries are nuclear powers, that war could well be nuclear. Hence, is it not incumbent on the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, including Great Britain, to help to de-escalate the tension across the line of control, demilitarise the Kashmir region and help to create a conducive environment for the Kashmiri people to have their right to self-determination, as we have seen given to the Scottish people in recent weeks?
Baroness Anelay of St Johns: My Lords, I recognise my noble friend’s family background. He was raised in the Pakistani-administered state of Kashmir, so I realise that he has long-standing experience and ties. He has also worked hard for Kashmiri charities in this country, and I admire that. It is indeed in everyone’s interest that there is peace, security and prosperity in south Asia. The UK will do all that it can to encourage India and Pakistan to take the steps necessary to strengthen their relationship. However, the pace and scope of their dialogue has to be for them to determine, not for others.