“The constituency for peace in both India and Pakistan is widening,” Labour peer Swraj Paul said during a debate on India-Pakistan relations in the House of Lords.
“Despite occasional problems, the two countries have remained committed to maintaining peace. There is greater people-to-people contact, greater trade, and greater interaction,’’ he said.
Lord Paul warned against foreign intervention in the Kashmir dispute which, he said, was a bilateral issue between the two countries - and it must be settled by them through negotiations.
“I have followed this unfortunate dispute which has gone on for some 65 years. All this time, I have had the privilege of discussing it with successive Prime Ministers of India and three of their counterparts in Pakistan. It is obvious from these conversations that it is not an easy issue to resolve but both parties have decided to find a solution through bilateral dialogue,’’ he said.
The debate followed a motion tabled by a Labour peer of Pakistani origin Lord Nazir Ahmed who sought the British Government’s intervention in facilitating a plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir.
Lord Paul said that the international community, including America, “was in favour of a negotiated solution.
“All friends of India and Pakistan have been encouraging the two countries in their dialogue process and urging them to settle their disputes bilaterally. President Barack Obama said in July last year that disputes between India and Pakistan can only be resolved among themselves,’’ he said.
The British Government made clear that it had no intention of meddling in Kashmir.
"On Kashmir, our position has always been that it is for India and Pakistan to find a lasting resolution to the situation there, which takes into account the wishes of the Kashmiri people," said Senior Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Baroness Warsi replying on behalf of the government.