On 26 October 2023, the House of Commons of the UK celebrated the 76th anniversary of the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India as it was on this day in 1947 that Maharaja Hari Singh of the then princely state of Jammu and Kashmir signed the Instrument of Accession to India. On this occasion, the British Parliament celebrated Jammu-Kashmir Day.
Organizing the event:
- The event was organized by the UK-based Jammu and Kashmir Diaspora and hosted by Bob Blackman, MP for Harrow East.
- Special guests on October 26 included Ajatshatru Singh and Ritu Singh from the former royal family of Jammu and Kashmir.
- Other keynote speakers included NEP party's Gautam Sen, Sushil Pandit and Sajjad Raja, representing PoJK.
- Jammu and Kashmir merged with India on October 26, 1947, when Maharaja Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession.
- The Instrument of Accession was a legal document that gave India control over the defence, foreign affairs and communications of the state.
- The merger of Jammu and Kashmir with India took place when Pakistan-backed invaders invaded Jammu and Kashmir from the north and west.
- Maharaja Hari Singh initially adopted a policy of neutrality, but was forced to ask for help from India when the invaders were about to capture the kingdom's capital, Srinagar. India responded by sending troops into Kashmir and eventually forced the attackers back.