In 2019, Conservative party in the UK attributed their big win to the role of the Indian diaspora on their stance of non interference on Kashmir. A year on, this seems to have been forgotten with the formation of a fringe group by 7 Conservative MPs calling it, Conservative Friends of Kashmir, leaving the voters utterly confused over the party stance.

The world is looking keenly to the US Presidential Elections on 3 November 2020 where much speculation remains on the role of Indian diaspora in determining who wins the top job. Parallels have been drawn with the UK elections and there is a heightened interest not just among diasporic communities but Indian citizens too. Though in the UK, there seems to be a somewhat political suicidal tendency among the Conservative party.

In a sudden turn of unexpected events, seven conservative party members announced the formation of the Conservative Friends of Kashmir. What might have seemed to these poor misguided Members of Parliament, representing Pakistani Diaspora in their constituencies, turned out to be a fatal suicide for the party. A calamity that none other than the Party Leader will now need to resolve. From raised eyebrows to livid diaspora groups and very embarrassed conservative parliamentarians, across both green and red benches, there are big questions to be answered in no uncertain terms.

India is the 2nd largest foreign direct investment (FDI) contributor to the UK. Almost 850 Indian businesses contribute over 110,00 local jobs and GBP 43 billion in net revenue, as per Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Grant Thornton India Meets Britain tracker report 2020). Added to this the Indian diaspora businesses, contribute a combined turnover of around 85 billion pounds, with over 1.7 billion pounds paid in taxes and close to 280,000 employees (as per Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry and Grant Thornton report 2020). A very steep economic contribution to risk at the hands of political mishandling?

A simplistic political view might try to explain the compulsion of these seven MPs as they have a significant Pakistani diaspora in their constituencies; so their appeasement is understandable at one level. To form a Conservative Friends group would require the blessings of the Party leadership so what is unclear therefore is and evident from this misfired appeasement shot, what exactly is the Conservative Party’s stance on India? Have they assumed that the Indian diaspora votes are already in their kitty so they do as they please? Or was it an afterthought of some sort?

It is comical really if you look at what is going on in the UK politics in relation to Kashmir!

Ever since the new Leader of Opposition, The Rt Hon Keir Starmer took over the Labour Party, there seems to be softening of the blows from the Labour party to India and Indian diaspora. One notices a keen desire, atleast among party leadership to try and amend the wrong doings, though any clear evidence of a formal stance is yet to be made clear.

As the Labour party is on its journey to realising their big political suicide and mistake in pissing off their Indian diasporic members and voters, the Tories seem to have rolled back on their strong pro-India stance.

Why, when their rivals were learning from their mistakes, would there be an itch among Conservative MPs to commit this royal suicide, nobody knows. It is nothing short of stupidity really!

Ofcourse, it seems that the Conservative Party did not expect such a strong backlash over this rather damaging formation of a few rogue MPs, three of who are also actually part of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Kashmir, which by the way is simply a rogue propaganda platform that fans Pakistani anti-India agenda. This is the same group that has been trying really hard to float the Islamophobia definition in the UK which saw a strong opposition by the Conservative Think Tank, Policy Exchange.

The British Prime Minister, Rt Hon Boris Johnson, is known to have strong affinity to India not just because of his ex-wife’s family connect but also his own love for India. So his blessings to the fringe group are unlikely though would be necessary to float any Conservative Friend group. The Party Chairperson, Rt Hon Amanda Milling is yet to visit India so one could attribute ignorance to this error but an issue that led them into victory, can not be callously approached clearly?

There already exists a Conservative Friends of India and Conservative Friends of Pakistan group; the latter may still not make too much sense in the context of the recent victory though noting the few supporters the party has from Pakistani diaspora, this is something one may ignore. The party clearly ought to know that Jammu and Kashmir is a union territory, not so far from their own Mission office in Chandigarh, where the British Deputy High Commissioner is posted.

An apology, is imminently required as also the immediate disbanding of the rogue Conservative Friends of Kashmir group. Nothing less will suffice.

In order to demonstrate a strong commitment to safety of UK citizens, as a British Citizen I definitely would like to see:

  • All Party Parliamentary Group United Against Radicalisation and Jehad
  • Strong commitment via legislation to stop grooming, IS recruitment and radicalisation of young people in the UK
  • Crackdown on charities supporting Islamic state agendas in the UK in the name of poverty alleviation; particularly those with clear people and funding connect to dangerous and proscribed terror groups.

Unless the country’s political representation focusses on issues closer home and addressing these, every party will simply be ‘taking-the-piss’. Innit mate?

DISCLAIMER: The author is solely responsible for the views expressed in this article. The author carries the responsibility for citing and/or licensing of images utilized within the text.