Tuesday, 10 September 2019
I have to say that it is deeply disappointing that once again the government has refused to consider an important foreign policy motion. In the last few weeks, my office and my colleagues' offices have received many emails from Australians living in fear for their loved ones in Kashmir. People are unable to be contacted, and, of course, while we've been on our winter break, the Indian government has drastically eroded Kashmiris' rights to self-determination. To quell dissent and to keep news away from the outside world, it has instigated a phone and internet blackout, it has detained political leaders and it has flooded Kashmir with troops.
This government should take a stand. It should make it absolutely clear and unequivocal to the Indian government that its actions are dangerous and counterproductive, and it should support the right of all Kashmiris to determine their own futures.
Labor is concerned about the current situation in Kashmir, particularly following the Indian government's decision to revoke articles 35A and 370 of the Indian constitution that confer special protective status on the state of Jammu and Kashmir. We call on all parties to refrain from actions that may lead to further escalation or could affect the status of Jammu and Kashmir. We endorse the UN Secretary-General's statement recalling the 1972 Simla agreement, which states that 'the final status of Jammu and Kashmir is to be settled by peaceful means'. We understand the concerns of the community here in Australia who are unable to contact family and friends, and we urge the full restoration of communications in the Kashmir Valley. Labor will continue to monitor developments in the region.