Washington Urges Direct Dialogue between India & Pakistan to Resolve Kashmir Issue

A spokesperson of the US State Department noted that US supports direct dialogue between India and Pakistan to resolve the ongoing conflict. Washington urges both countries to combat cross-border terrorism with firm and resolute steps.

Washington

News Desk |

Washington stated on Thursday that it supports direct engagement between Pakistan and India to resolve the Kashmir issue, and urged for restraint as Pakistan dismissed New Delhi’s ambassador.

The US State Department noted that Washington is closely monitoring the constitutional changes India has ushered in the territory of Jammu & Kashmir.

A statement from the US State Department notes, “We continue to support direct dialogue between India and Pakistan on Kashmir and other issues of concern.”

On Monday, India abolished Article 370 from its constitution, scraping away the special constitutional status of the occupied valley of Kashmir. In turn, Pakistan downgraded its diplomatic ties, and sent back India’s high commissioner.

Read more: Revocation of Article 370: Violation of UNSC, Indian Constitution & Victory for RSS Ideology?

US Monitoring India’s Legislation

Speaking to the Press Trust of India, a spokesperson of the US State Department noted that Washington is closely monitoring the constitutional changes India has ushered in the territory of Jammu & Kashmir.

India abolished the Article 370 from its constitution, scraping away the special constitutional status of the occupied valley of Kashmir.

The spokesperson said, “The US is closely following India’s legislation regarding the new territorial status and governance of Jammu and Kashmir. We note the broader implications of these developments, including the potential for increased instability in the region.”

The downgrading of diplomatic ties and heightened military deployment on both sides of the border is cause for concern, and the officials in Washington have voiced their concerns over the threats of heightened instability and the possibility of a confrontation between the two nuclear-armed rivals.

Read more: Mockery of Democracy: Indians Criticize Revocation of Article 370

The spokesperson of the US State Department expressed concern over the unlawful detentions and restrictions imposed on the people of occupied Jammu & Kashmir. The spokesperson noted, “We continue to be concerned by reports of detentions and the continued restrictions on the residents of Jammu and Kashmir. We urge respect for individual rights, compliance with legal procedures, and inclusive dialogue with those affected.”

The spokesperson noted that the US calls upon both India and Pakistan to maintain peace and stability along the Line of Control, and eliminate cross-border terrorism by undertaking “firm and resolute steps”.

The downgrading of diplomatic ties and heightened military deployment on both sides of the border is cause for concern.

The occupied Himalayan valley of Jammu & Kashmir remains under an unprecedented security lockdown in the aftermath of India’s unilateral decision to abolish the constitutional status of the valley. New Delhi has deployed thousands of additional troops, restricting civilian movements and bring normal life to a standstill. India maintains that Jammu & Kashmir is an integral part of the country, and the withdrawal of its special status and the division of the region into two federally governed territories is an “internal” matter of the country.

Read more: In plain words: What are Articles 370 and 35-A?

Earlier on Wednesday, a senior US diplomat, Alice Wells, negated India’s claims of apprising officials in Washington of its decision to abolish the Article 370 and deprive the Kashmiris of their special constitutional status.

A statement issued by the US Bureau of South Asian and Central Asian Affairs (SCA) cited Alice Wells comments, stating, “Contrary to press reporting, the Indian government did not consult or inform the US Government before moving to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special constitutional status.”

Will Washington Intervene?

Sources within the Indian government had earlier revealed to Indian news daily, The Print, of engagements between the Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, during which Jaishankar had informed the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, of the Modi-led government’s plan to scrape away Article 370.

New Delhi has deployed thousands of additional troops, restricting civilian movements and bring normal life to a standstill.

Moreover, the sources had claimed that this wasn’t the first instance that Washington had been apprised on this issue. The sources claimed that even US National Security Advisor, John Bolton, was informed of the agenda with regards to Kashmir.

Speaking to the American Bazaar in an exclusive interview, Michael Kugelman, Deputy Director of the Asia Program and South Asia senior associate at The Wilson Center, observed that US-India relations are unlikely to suffer any “deleterious impact” over the ongoing Kashmir issue.

Read more: Article 35-A: Court’s move could be problematic for Indo-Pak relations

Kugelman said, “I don’t envision any deleterious impacts for US-India relations. Washington’s silence on the Article 370 repeal is telling — an indication that despite Trump’s mediation offers, Washington values its partnership with New Delhi and won’t want to rock the boat by calling India out.”

Commenting on Pakistan’s strategy of engaging Washington as a mediator, Kugelman noted, “I do think that Pakistan will press the US to pressure India to back off on its Kashmir policies, though Islamabad will ultimately recognize Washington’s unwillingness to do so.”

The Deputy Director of the Asia Program added, “The India-Pakistan relationship is in for some dark days. Islamabad won’t let this move go easily. The Article 370 repeal will also reduce Pakistan’s incentive to seek dialogue with India, which for Islamabad ultimately comes down to Kashmir. And India will be less inclined than it already was toward talks with Pakistan.”

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