London, Feb 8: Several British Members of Parliament have said that the prevailing crisis in Afghanistan can be stabilized if India and Pakistan work together to resolve their dispute over Kashmir.
Speakers such as Sir Gerald Kaufman, Mohammad Sarwar, Denis MacShane, Adam Holloway and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence Quentin Davies were quoted by the Dawn newspaper as saying that the tensions between India and Pakistan should be eased to facilitate resolution of the Kashmir dispute, and this in turn they believed would lead to stabilizing Afghanistan.
"We must do all we can to make it a top priority to solve the world's oldest unresolved dispute of Jammu Kashmir," Kaufman said, adding that Britain needed to do 'much more' to put it high on the international agenda.
He dismissed the Indian criticism of Foreign Secretary David Miliband's remarks about Kashmir as unacceptable and warned that not paying serious attention to Kashmir resolution would be a prime strategic error.
He viewed that a Kashmir settlement was imperative owing to "all the strategic reasons for which Britain is in Afghanistan". He said that resolution of the Kashmir dispute would also eliminate the risk of 'unnecessary military confrontation' between the two nuclear-armed countries, apart from reducing what he called the waste of resources on military spending by them.
The Dawn quoted Sarwar as saying that the British Government should help Pakistan and India in resolving the conflict, underscoring that the settlement was also an essential part of the roadmap to a stabilized Afghanistan.
He expressed the hope that Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Foreign Secretary Miliband and US President Barack Obama would work with the governments of the region to build a stable and peaceful South Asia.
Denis MacShane suggested that India's 'militaristic and jingoistic postures' towards Pakistan needed to be toned down. He said it was time the British politicians stopped shying away from discussing Kashmir.
Adam Holloway of the Conservative Party said that Britain should help reduce tension between India and Pakistan as this would let Pakistan focus on counter-insurgency engagement in its tribal areas.
They urged India to resume urgently composite dialogue with Pakistan so that the Kashmir dispute could be resolved amicably and the relations between the two neighbors were normalized.
Kashmiri leaders based in the UK also made speeches on the occasion.