UK following developments in J&K, says British envoy

Chennai: The United Kingdom was closely following the developments in Jammu and Kashmir, British High Commissioner to India, Sir Dominic Asquith said Tuesday.

The envoy, however, said it is not for the British government to mediate or interfere in the matter concerning India and Pakistan. The Centre on Monday revoked provisions of Article 370 which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and proposed that the state be bifurcated into the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

“What is happening now, obviously, we are looking very closely … and very keen that people keep calm about what is happening in the valley on both sides of the border. So encouraging calm approach,” he told PTI on the sidelines of a conference organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry.

“It is not for the United Kingdom to mediate or interfere in the issue between India and Pakistan and that has been the position. It is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan which we very much hope will be resolved,” he said.

Earlier, at the conference, while speaking on the topic ‘Building a Vibrant Nation Through Women Leadership’, he said the concept was a very important one for them. “We did the Queen’s birthday party here and we celebrated some of the collaborations (UK-India firms) and those women who have made an enormous difference through their work in society, business. It is a very important subject for us,” he said.

To a query, he said the third of all United Kingdom investments made in India in 2017-18 were in Tamilnadu. “So, it is really important area for us to operate. Three big areas it covers — automotive, healthcare collaboration and fintech (financial technology platform).”

The High Commissioner along with top officials of the UK High Commission earlier in the day met scholars selected from Tamilnadu to take up their graduation programmes in the UK under the flagship Chevening Scholarships.