§ 13. Mr. Peter L. Pike (Burnley)
What recent discussions Her Majesty's Government have had with representatives of the Indian and Pakistani Governments, regarding Kashmir. 
§ The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mr. Derek Fatchett)
We have had a number of discussions with representatives of India and Pakistan on regional security issues, including the question of Kashmir.
§ Mr. Pike
Does my hon. Friend agree that it is understandable that there is worldwide concern about the increasing tension between Pakistan and India over the Kashmir problem, especially following the nuclear tests carried out by both countries earlier this year? Does he hope that the talks that started last week, which will be resumed in the new year, will lead to an end to the problem? That is in the interests of people on both sides in Kashmir, and in the interests of India and Pakistan. Will my hon. Friend make it clear to both sides that, while there is a problem for those countries to solve, we will do all that we can to assist the achieving of that objective?
§ Mr. Fatchett
I agree with all that my hon. Friend has said. It is crucial that India and Pakistan are able to establish a sensible, constructive and peaceful bilateral relationship. We wish the talks well that started last week and had been preceded by discussions between the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan in New York. We hope that those discussions lead to measures that relate not just to Kashmir, but to other confidence-building issues and broader economic and security issues—but my hon. Friend is right. The south Asian sub-continent is a volatile area, and the question of Kashmir makes it that much more volatile. Hence the need for the discussions to be successful.
§ Mr. Michael Colvin (Romsey)
Does the Minister of State recall that today is the 51st anniversary of the occupation of large parts of Kashmir by Indian forces? Therefore, does he not think that it would be a good day to confirm the United Kingdom's determination to bring Kashmir back on to the agenda of the United Nations Security Council, bearing in mind that there were resolutions from the Security Council in 1948, 1949 and 1957 calling for a plebiscite of the Kashmiri people on their future? Does he not think that that should be pressed for by Her Majesty's Government?
§ Mr. Fatchett
The international community is naturally concerned about the developments in relation to Kashmir and the threats that those pose for regional stability and security. The best current approach is through the bilateral talks between India and Pakistan. We wish those well. The obvious parties to resolve these difficulties are the two Governments. If they can come to an understanding, that is the best way for the peace of the area and for the people of Kashmir.