Hope Indian govt will address concerns on CAA: UK
New Delhi, Jan 30: Amid anti-CAA protests in India, the UK on Thursday said it hopes that the Indian government will address concerns of the people over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) as its manifesto commitment is “with all, development for all and trust of all”.
Outgoing British High Commissioner to India Dominic Asquith also said the British side is “very interested” in a visit to the Kashmir Valley and has a standing request for it.
He also said the British side had not received any request from the Indian side to visit Kashmir following the abrogation of Article 370 provisions.
At an interaction with journalists here, the British envoy also expressed “regret” over violent protests on the premises of the Indian mission in London last year.
Asked about the protests in India over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, Asquith said, “We have noted what the government and Mr. Modi say about together with all, development for all, and trust of all (reference to sabka saath, sabka vikas, sabka vishvas) and I believe that is the manifesto commitment of this government.”
“There is protest in every single democracy…I refer back to the ‘with all, development for all, and trust of all’ as the objective set by this government and I am sure that in that ‘trust of all’ (is) the trust that it will be addressing the concerns that have been expressed about the CAA. But that is for the Indian government to deal with,” Asquith said.
On the anti-CAA resolutions in the European Parliament, he said parliaments as key democratic institutions have the habit to debate a variety of subjects.
On the eve of Britain’s historic departure from the European Union, Asquith stressed that the UK will remain the most important European partner of India.
There will be an expansion of diplomatic and trade activity, he said.
Asquith also expressed support for permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for India.
Asked when will British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visit India, the envoy said he would visit some time this year.
“He (Johnson) said he wants to come. I would be very surprised if you don’t see him or meet him sometime this year,” Asquith told reporters.
Talking about the issue of security of the Indian High Commission in London, he reiterated the UK’s commitment to the obligations to make sure that diplomatic premises and staff are not threatened.
He also expressed regret over “any threat the Indian diplomats may have felt as a result of protests in August and September”.
“I am glad to note that the last two protests have passed off without any serious concern. That balance between the right to protest which in a democratic society is very important and ensuring that protests don’t cross the line to illegality is a balance that is always difficult to maintain,” he said, adding that the Metropolitan Police has the responsibility to do.