Letter to the FT on Kashmir

This letter has been sent to the Financial Times for favour of publication after the front page report 22 Jan 09 that India has officially complained about Foreign Secretary David Miliband’s reference to Kashmir during his recent visit to India

22 January 2009

David Miliband should be praised not condemned for raising the problem of Kashmir as did President Obama in his election campaign when he made clear his belief that discussing the Kashmir question is essential if the India-Pakistan-Afghanistan region is to move away from violence (FT 22 Jan page 1).
For a British Foreign Secretary to go to India and not underline President Obama’s view on Kashmir as is sensible as him going to the Middle East and not mention Palestine.
India has much right on her side as New Delhi protests about Islamist jihadi extremists and their support networks in Pakistan. But according to Human Rights Watch, as many as 70,000 Muslims have been killed since 500,000 Indian Army soldiers moved in to "pacify" Kashmir nearly 20 years ago. This is a far greater number of dead Muslims than all those killed over decades of conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. When will India contribute to world peace by accepting the Obama-Miliband view that Kashmir is a problem that needs an open, honest discussion and a dialogue with Pakistan to solve the issue ?

Rt Hon Dr Denis MacShane MP
House of Commsons
London SW1A 0AA