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Volume 522: debated on Tuesday 1 February 2011

Although it is the long-standing policy of successive Governments that, ultimately, the issue of Kashmir is one for the Governments of India and Pakistan to find an answer to while taking into account the wishes of the Kashmiri people, we recognise the deep concern that many MPs feel. We are keen to encourage the confidence-building measures that are emerging from the intermittent but continuing bilateral discussions between India and Pakistan, which we hope to see progress this year.

Surely the Foreign Office must be concerned at the ongoing problems with curfews and human rights abuses that are being reported in Kashmir. Will the Minister agree to meet a cross-party delegation of Members of Parliament specifically to address the need for demilitarisation and, we hope, a peaceful dialogue that involves the Kashmiri people themselves?

We do indeed acknowledge exactly what the hon. Gentleman has said. We apply United Kingdom funds to confidence-building measures, conflict prevention and human rights monitoring on both sides of the line of control, with a view to assisting in dealing with the difficult issues that have been particularly highlighted in the past year. The short answer to his question is yes, of course I will meet a delegation of all-party colleagues.