Home South Asia India End communications blackout, engage Kashmiri leaders: US to India

End communications blackout, engage Kashmiri leaders: US to India

US State Department has urged New Delhi to put an end to the prolonged communications blackout, curfew and widespread detentions to restore normalcy across the disputed territory. Washington has also urged India to establish dialogue with Kashmiri leaders and hold elections.

US

The US State Department has expressed concerned over the unprecedented communications blackout, which has denied Kashmiris the right to use the internet or mobile phones in majority of the valleys across the disputed Himalayan territory.

Earlier on Monday, US President Donald Trump reinstated his offer for mediation to help Pakistan and India reach a peaceful political solution to the longstanding dispute of Kashmir. However, he also observed that tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbors was a “little less heated” as compared to last month.

The spokesperson of the US State Department, Morgan Ortagus, issued a statement to the press, urging India to undertake certain measures to restore normalcy in the occupied valley of Kashmir, which has suffered unprecedented violence during the curfew imposed since 5th August, when the Modi administration forcefully annexed the disputed Himalayan territory.

End Communications Blackout & Restrictions

The US State Department has urged New Delhi to put an end to the communication blackout restricting Kashmiris from accessing their mobile phones or internet, alongside raising concern over reports of arbitrary arrests and detentions.

India has strongly opposed any offers of mediation, insisting that Kashmir remains a bilateral issue, however, Donald Trump has persisted in his offers.

Morgan Ortagus said that the Trump administration is “very concerned by widespread detentions, including of local political and business leaders, and the restrictions on the residents” of the occupied valley of Kashmir.

She added, “We are also concerned about reports that internet and mobile phone access continues to be blocked in certain regions.”

The US State Department has urged India to resume political engagement with Kashmiri leaders and schedule promised elections in their occupied region as soon as possible.

Ortagus urged New Delhi to restore access to internet and mobile networks to allow normalcy to return to the valley. She said, “We urge authorities to respect human rights and restore access to services such as the internet and mobile networks.”

The US State Department spokesperson also urged India to resume political dialogue and engagement with the leaders of Kashmir, and as soon as possible, announce the schedule for the promised elections in the disputed territory.

Read more: 50 Countries join Pakistan’s demand for End to Indian Brutality in Kashmir

Ortagus said, “We look forward to the Indian government’s resumption of political engagement with local leaders and the scheduling of promised elections at the earliest opportunity.”

India Losing Favor with Washington?

A day before the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, US President Donald Trump issued an executive order to designate Noor Wali Mehsud, Chief of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), as a global terrorist, amongst 10 others.

This recently created list of global terrorists will allow the administration and security forces to eliminate the networks of suspected terrorists, their abettors, financiers and supporters. Washington has exhibited its continued concern over the escalating tensions in occupied Jammu & Kashmir. Opinion makers and congressmen have made it clear that the US is not sold in India’s narrative on “normalcy” restored across the disputed region.

Addressing the press at the White House on Monday, US President Donald Trump reiterated his offer to mediate and aid in reducing tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbors. He said, “India and Pakistan are having a conflict over Kashmir as you know. I think it’s a little bit less heated right now than it was two weeks ago and I’m willing to help them.”

India has strongly opposed any offers of mediation, insisting that Kashmir remains a bilateral issue, however, Donald Trump has persisted in his offers. Analysts believe that Trump, like many others across the US, fear that the Kashmir dispute can stir up yet another military confrontation between the two countries.

Read more: Accidental War likely if Tensions soar over Kashmir: Foreign Minister Qureshi

Trump added, “I get along with both countries very well. I’m willing to help them if they want, they know that is out there.”

Jan Achakzai, notable geo-strategist and political analyst, observed that India has lost its “leverage in the White House” after the removal of US national Security Advisor, John Bolton.

Achakzai said, “Pakistan must be relieved after President Trump fired NSA boss John Bolton—a hawk, interventionist old school NEO-CON—was particularly pro-India.”

The Baloch analyst added, “His bias was so obvious that he granted Delhi the right to preemptively strike Islamabad. India has lost leverage in White House.”

Diplomatic observers regard the Trump administration’s decision to designate the TTP Chief as a global terrorists as a gesture to assure Pakistan that the United States is fighting against all terrorist groups, regardless of whether they attack Pakistan, India or Afghanistan.

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