Jammu: A UK lawmaker today said that the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir, including parts "illegally controlled" by Pakistan, were integral part of India.
"State of Jammu and Kashmir in totality is part of India an integral part of India and it needs to be reunited and should come under the dominion of India," UK Member parliament and leader of ruling conservative party Robert John Blackman told reporters in Jammu during a meet the press function organized by the Press Club of Jammu.
Blackman said Pakistan must vacate the territory of Jammu and Kashmir "illegally occupied" by that country. "The erstwhile ruler of Jammu and Kashmir had signed instrument of accession with India and given the control of the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir to India, it is Pakistan which illegally occupied its territory which it should hand back to India through negotiation," he said.
Blackman said that as both the countries were nuclear power, so there was no question of both the nations for going on war for Kashmir, but Pakistan must itself vacate the territory and hand it over to India.
The lawmaker from the Harrow East constituency in England said that in the past Pakistan lobby had strong presence in the UK parliament but things have changed and people like him who are "friends of India" have been started speaking about India.
He said that the ties between India and the United Kingdom have grown stronger even since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took over the reins of power in India and his last year's "historic visit" to UK has further strengthened the bond.
Invoking the Gujarat model of development he said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a vision to develop India as an economic and military power of the east and United Kingdom was ready to provide all possible support to India for attaining the goal.
He said Modi has been working tirelessly to take India to "greater heights", he said. He said India has been a victim of terrorism originating from Pakistani soil and it should take measures to rein in the "forces" that spread terrorism in countries like India.
Asked why UK does not declare Pakistan as a terrorist state, Blackman said he cannot speak on behalf of the UK government, but he was aware of the terrorist attacks that India faced and that originated from the Pakistani soil.
He said that UK government was aware of the terrorism being faced by India and it stands shoulder to shoulder with India to combat terrorism. To a question on the ongoing debate of "intolerance" in India, Blackman said India was one of the safest countries for minorities in the world where people from all faiths get equal rights but said it was unfortunate that military had to be used to protect temples in Kashmir.
"India is one of the safest countries for minorities in the world, where minorities get equal rights and which unfortunately is not the case with Pakistan where every day minorities are being targeted attacked.
"I was in Kashmir for two days and it was unfortunate to see that military had to be used to protect temples in Kashmir valley," he said.
On a question regarding the growing radicalisation in the UK and the youth joining the ISIS to fight in Syria and Iraq, Blackman said it has been a cause of concern for the country. "It is really a cause of concern for the UK, that Mosques are being used to radicalise the youth who then join the ISIS and go and fight in Syria.
"We are studying the cause and influence and how the youth in UK gets radicalized and to combat that we have roped in the Imams of the mosques to help stop the youth who have been born and brought up in UK from getting radicalised," he said.
On a question on the displaced Kashmiri Pandit community, he said that steps need to be taken so that the community is properly rehabilitated and given full protection. "Kashmiri Pandit community has been the worst victim of terrorism," he said.