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In a historic landslide victory, the Labour Party, under the leadership of Keir Starmer, is poised to usher in a new era in the United Kingdom. Following a decisive win in the general elections on Friday, Starmer is set to succeed Rishi Sunak as Prime Minister. Among the numerous global issues on Starmer’s agenda, a key responsibility will be to repair the strained ties with India, a relationship that has been turbulent due to the Labour Party’s stance on the Kashmir issue.

The origins of this tension date back to September 2019 when, under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, the Labour Party passed an emergency motion calling for international observers to enter Kashmir. This motion demanded the right of self-determination for the Kashmiri people and urged Corbyn to meet with the high commissioners of India and Pakistan to facilitate mediation and avert a potential nuclear conflict. India, viewing this as an interference in its internal affairs, strongly opposed the motion, terming it an effort to “pander to vote bank interests.”

Amidst the escalating diplomatic friction, it was Keir Starmer who took proactive steps to defuse tensions. Recognizing the importance of maintaining robust ties with a burgeoning economy like India, Starmer made it clear that Kashmir is a matter to be resolved by India and Pakistan alone. During meetings with the Indian diaspora and public addresses, he emphasized that constitutional issues within India are for the Indian Parliament to address.

“Any constitutional issues in India are a matter for the Indian Parliament, and Kashmir is a bilateral issue for India and Pakistan to resolve peacefully,” Starmer asserted during a meeting with Labour Friends of India.

Starmer’s pragmatic approach and diplomatic acumen have set the stage for a potential thaw in UK-India relations. As he prepares to take the helm as Prime Minister, the global community will be watching closely to see how he navigates this complex geopolitical landscape. With a focus on strengthening bilateral ties and fostering peace, Starmer’s leadership promises a new chapter in UK-India relations.