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UK MP pulls up own party members for creating ‘Conservative Friends of Kashmir group’


In a significant support for the Modi government Bob Blackman, a key member of UK’s ruling Conservative Party, has pulled up his colleagues for creating the ‘Conservative Friends of Kashmir group’. In a letter to Amanda Milling, MP (chairman of the Conservative Party), Blackman wrote, “The creation of the so-called Conservative Friends of Kashmir will cause severe tensions not only between these existing two groups [C and Conservative Friends of Pakistan] – which have co-existed without any significant conflict thus far – but also alienate a large percentage of voters, in many cases who switched to our Party for the first time at the recent General Election due to the Labour Party’s handling of relations with India.”

He further asserted in his letter, “This group fails to even recognise the existence of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, which is viewed as an integral part of India…” Blackman is the Vice-Chairman of Conservative Friends of India Group in British Parliament and recipient of Padma Shri award. “Jammu and Kashmir is internationally recognised as a state of India and we do not have any other “Conservative Friends” that represent other areas of India. Indeed, Party policy is that security in Jammu and Kashmir is an internal matter for India and you will know that I have previously written to the Prime Minister regarding the issue and he re-iterated Party policy on Jammu and Kashmir both in writing and also on the floor of the House of Commons,” the MP added.

Urging the Party not to recognise the ‘Conservative Friends of Kashmir’ group, Bobman said, “Colleagues and I strongly believe that should this group be recognised by the Party it will set an extremely unhelpful precedent and open the door to other equally unfavourable groups such as “Conservative Friends of Khalistan” which would, of course, erode a second large group of voters that we worked tirelessly to convince to lend us their support at the 2019 General Election.”

Robert John Blackman popularly known as Bob Blackman is a Tory Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament from Harrow East since 2010. He also sits as joint executive secretary on the 1922 Committee since 2015 and on housing communities and local government select committee. He is the vice-chairman of India’s All-Party Parliamentary group and chairman of All-Party Parliamentary Group for British-Hindus. In the past three and a half years Bob Blackman has visited India seven times and visited places like Maharashtra’s Mumbai, Kerala, Delhi, Chandigarh, Punjab’s Amritsar, and Jammu and Kashmir.

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