Friday Aug 09 2019
Web Desk

US says no change in its policy on occupied Kashmir

Web Desk

The United States on Thursday said that there has been no change in its policy on Kashmir and reiterated its call for India and Pakistan to maintain calm and restraint.

When asked by reporters if there has been any change in the Trump administration’s policy on Indian-occupied Kashmir, State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus replied, “No.”

“And if there was, I certainly wouldn’t be announcing it here, but no, there’s not,” Ortagus said in response to a follow-up question during a press briefing.

“I mean, I think obviously this is something that we watch incredibly closely. It’s something that we’ve called for calm and restraint by all parties. We want to main peace and stability, and we, of course, support direct – the direct dialogue between India and Pakistan on Kashmir and other issues of concern,” the spokesperson added.

Responding to a question on Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s statement that India was carrying out a genocide in occupied Kashmir, Ortagus said the US urges the rule of law, respect for human rights, and respect for international norms.

“Yeah, I mean, I really don’t want to go beyond what we’ve said, because it’s such a tenuous issue. It’s something that we’re talking to them about quite closely. We obviously, whenever it comes to – whenever it comes to any region in the world where there are tensions, we ask for people to observe the rule of law, respect for human rights, respect for international norms. We ask people to maintain peace and security and direct dialogue.

“There are reports, as you’ve mentioned, of detentions and restrictions of residents in Jammu and Kashmir. And again, that’s why we continue to monitor this very, very closely.”

The spokesperson reiterated that the US was neither consulted nor informed by India about its decision to scrap Articles 370 and 35A of the constitution.

“There was no heads up given,” she said.

India rushed through a presidential decree on Monday to abolish Article 370, which revoked the special status granted to occupied Kashmir and made the state a Union Territory with the legislature. The move followed days of uncertainty in the region that began last week when New Delhi ordered tourists and Hindu pilgrims to leave "immediately" and sent thousands of additional troops to the disputed valley.