The member of upper house of the parliament in the UK is galvanizing international community to put India under pressure to solve the Kashmir issue. Should India be worried?
Lord Nazir Ahmed is the member of House of Lords which is the upper house in the UK parliament. Born in Pakistan administered Kashmir, he is known for his controversial remarks on Kashmir and India. He has often claimed that he wanted peace and stability in the region. However, his efforts of bringing peace have been eclipsed by his incendiary language that could stir the region.
While addressing a gathering recently, he suggested that 'the only way to draw attention of the government of India to the problems of the people' is by supporting the separatist movements across the country what he calls 'fight for self determination'.
Insurgency in India has been a long standing problem. The belligerent movements cut across political, social and religious groups whose ideology overlap at times where religious become political and social turn into religious. Successive governments have attempted to solve the issue by holding dialogues to keeping dialogues on hold. This fresh rant from a member of UK Parliament is different and serious for many reasons.
India's relationship with its neighbors has hit a rough patch. Nepal – the younger brother- is frowning and has shown allegiance towards China. The relationship with Sri Lanka dates back to centuries but more recently China's growing influence in the region is a concern for India. The bilateral talks held in 2017 are yet to fruition. Afghanistan has been a friend but currently saddled with terrorism.
While Land Boundary Agreement with Bangladesh has been a success, Teesta remains a bone of contention and also the dispensation in the country is clearly divided on the issue of India and Pakistan. The long and short of the argument is while India is mending its relationship with the neighbors and wooing the world, it cannot afford an international pressure on issues like Kashmir.
Let's come back to Lord Ahmed's comments. Is his own country going to take his allegations at face value? Would United Kingdom rekindle the fire of discussion on this emotive issue which it unsuccessfully did during Tony Blair's government? May be not as Brexit is the overarching concern for the country. However, what cannot and should not be undermined is the language used by the British politician. Provocative language could cause a conflagration in the tinder dry region of secessionist movements.