The British consulate in Pakistani Kashmir

India must caution Britain against any change in its scope

The British government has decided to appoint an honorary consul in Mirpur, in Pakistani Kashmir, for the purpose of tackling the problem of forced marriages which have caused some trepidation in its increasingly multicultural society.

But creating a formal diplomatic presence in a disputed territory is tricky business, and India has registered a formal protest with the British Foreign Office. Both Britain and India have done what is necessary.

India should not begrudge Britain taking measures to protect vulnerable members of its society as its tries to integrate its ethnic minorities into the mainstream. But it must signal to the British government that upgrading the consulate’s diplomatic status or any attempts to use it to intervene in the India-Pakistan peace process will be deemed off-side. This already seems to be the case, so opening an honorary Indian consulate in Londonderry to protect single-malt-drunk Indian citizens can be put off for the time being.