“Both sides are laying blame on the other, escalating tension,” he said, opening the debate on 23 January 2013.
He told peers: “It must not be forgotten that Kashmir’s struggle for self-determination began long before the struggle for self-determination of India or Pakistan.”
He said conversation between the Indian and Pakistani governments was “meaningless” without the participation of the Kashmiri leadership, and asked the UK government to recognise this.
Lib Dem Lord Parekh said “the two countries do not seem able to make up their mind on how much to co-operate” and blamed the ascendancy of the military in Pakistan for their “tense relationship” with India.
Shadow Foreign Office spokesman Lord Triesman said it was not helpful to play “the blame game” and called the developments of recent weeks “worrying”.
“The international community cannot ignore Pakistan and its stability is crucial to the region,” Lord Triesman argued, before urging the government to give Kashmir a higher priority in discussions with the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Baroness Ashton.
Responding for the government, Foreign Office Minister Baroness Warsi paid tribute to the UK’s “unique historical and cultural ties to both India and Pakistan” and confirmed that the prime minister will visit India later this year.
“It is for India and Pakistan to find a long-term solution that takes into account the interests and wishes of the Kashmiri people,” Lady Warsi said.
She added that prescriptions from outside observers “however well-intentioned” were likely to delay the cause of a peaceful resolution.
Pakistan’s foreign minister has called for talks with her Indian counterpart to defuse military tensions in Kashmir, which is claimed by both countries and has been a flashpoint since the partition of India.
Kashmir is divided into Pakistan-administered and Indian-administered regions along the so-called Line of Control. The western region of Punjab was also cut in two by the border.
Kashmir has been the spark for two of the three India-Pakistan wars: the first in 1947-8 and the second in 1965.
-BBC News UK