Britain will stay out of India-Pakistan dispute: FM
Britain's new coalition government will not "lecture" India and Pakistan over their relationship, Foreign Secretary William Hague said Thursday ahead of an upcoming trip to Islamabad.
His predecessor David Miliband caused a diplomatic row last year by linking the unresolved Kashmir dispute to the Mumbai terror attacks, and Hague signalled he would not make the same mistake.
"It will not be our approach to lecture other countries on how they should conduct their bilateral relations," Hague told reporters in London.
He welcomed the improvement in ties between Pakistan and India, including plans for foreign minister-level talks in July on how to re-open the formal peace dialogue suspended after the November 2008 attacks on Mumbai.
"That such relations are improved is of course important to relations in that region and the future peace of the world," Hague said.
"But our approach would not be to tell those countries what to do, they must take forward their own bilateral relations."
Miliband, a member of the Labour government which lost power to a Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition in May 6 elections, sparked a major row by linking Kashmir to extremism on a trip to New Delhi in January last year.
The former British colony has traditionally resisted any kind of outside interference in its dispute with Pakistan over Kashmir, the trigger of two of the three wars between the two nuclear-armed rivals.
Hague said this week he intended to visit Pakistan "in the next few weeks" to discuss military operations in Afghanistan and bilateral issues.
© 2010 AFP