Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson.  (Reuters)
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson. (Reuters)

Boris Johnson tells Modi Kashmir a bilateral issue, calls for India-Pakistan dialogue

  • The conversation came against the backdrop of the Indian government's revocation of Jammu and Kashmir special status under Article 370
  • The telephone conversation came ahead of the G7 meeting in France over the weekend

LONDON : British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday made clear to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that Kashmir remains a bilateral matter between India and Pakistan as far as the UK's view is concerned, during a telephone call between the two leaders.

The conversation, part of a series of similar telephone calls being undertaken by Johnson with world leaders since he took charge at Downing Street last month, covered the current situation in Kashmir alongside a discussion on the importance of the India-UK partnership.

"The Prime Minister and Prime Minister Modi discussed the current situation in Kashmir," a Downing Street spokesperson said in an official readout of the phone call.

"The Prime Minister made clear that the UK views the issue of Kashmir as one for India and Pakistan to resolve bilaterally. He underlined the importance of resolving issues through dialogue," the spokesperson said.

The conversation came against the backdrop of the Indian government's revocation of Jammu and Kashmir special status under Article 370.

In relation of India-UK bilateral ties, Johnson and Modi agreed on the importance of the partnership and the need to build on it further, particularly through trade and economic ties and through the “living bridge that links our countries".

"Prime Minister Modi said there are immense possibilities for the UK and India which would increase prosperity in both countries," the Downing Street spokesperson said.

The telephone conversation came ahead of the G7 meeting in France over the weekend, where the two leaders are scheduled to meet for the first time since Johnson became UK Prime Minister.

Therefore their discussions also covered the summit in Biarritz and the issue of importance to both nations.

"Ahead of the G7, the Prime Minister and Prime Minister Modi agreed on the importance of working together to tackle climate change and other threats to biodiversity. They looked forward to meeting at the summit this weekend to discuss this and other issues," the spokesperson added.

While the Downing Street readout of the conversation made no reference to any other issues discussed between the two leaders, the Prime Minister’s Office in India tweeted that the topics covered also included a fight against terrorism and violence.

In this context, Modi is said to have referred to the "violence and vandalism" by Pakistan-backed protesters against the High Commission of India in London during Independence Day celebrations in London last week.

The PMO India post read: “Prime Minister Modi also drew attention to the challenges posed by vested interests pursuing their motivated agenda, including by violent means. In this context he referred to the violence and vandalism perpetrated by a large mob against the High Commission of India in London on the last Independence Day of India.

"Prime Minister Johnson regretted the incident and assured that all necessary steps would be taken to ensure safety and security of the High Commission, its personnel and visitors."

It added: “Prime Minister Modi pointed out that terrorism had plagued all parts of the world, including India and Europe.

"He stressed the importance of effective steps to ward off the threats posed by radicalisation, violence and intolerance, particularly in the context of the expanding footprint of terrorist organisations such as ISIS [Islamic State]".

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