US urges India to engage with Kashmiri leaders – Newspaper

WASHINGTON: The United States Department of State has urged India to resume the political commitment to Kashmir leaders and schedule the promised elections in its occupied region as soon as possible.

On Monday, US President Donald Trump reiterated his offer to help India and Pakistan resolve the Kashmir dispute, although he also noted that the tension over occupied Kashmir was "a little less heated" compared to two weeks.

And one day before the anniversary of September 11, Trump issued an executive order that added the head of Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), along with 10 others, to a new list of global terrorists. The order improved the administration's ability to prosecute suspected terrorists and their financiers and supporters.

In a statement to the media, US State Department spokesman Morgan Ortagus urged India to take some key steps to bring normalcy to occupied Kashmir, which has been suffering under the ruthless curfew imposed on August 5, when New Delhi unilaterally annexed the disputed territory.

"We hope that the Indian government will resume political commitment to local leaders and schedule the promised elections as soon as possible," he said.

Ms. Ortagus said that the United States "remains very concerned about widespread detentions, including local political and business leaders, and restrictions on residents" of occupied Kashmir.

"We are also concerned about reports that the Internet and access to mobile phones remain blocked in certain regions," he added. "We urge the authorities to respect human rights and restore access to services such as internet and mobile networks."

The demand for political reforms, although it is unlikely to fully repair the complaints of the people of occupied Kashmir who want to end the illegal occupation of India, shows Washington's continuing concern over the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. It also indicates that the United States is not buying India's claim that the occupied region is calm.

At a press conference at the White House on Monday, President Trump used a question to reiterate his offer to help reduce tensions between India and Pakistan over occupied Kashmir. India opposes mediation in its disputes with Pakistan, but Trump's repeated offers show that, like many in Washington, he fears that the Kashmir problem has the potential to cause another war between India and Pakistan.

“India and Pakistan are having a conflict over Kashmir as you know. I think it's a little less hot now than two weeks ago and I'm willing to help them, "he said.

“I get along very well with both countries. I'm willing to help them if they want, they know it's out there, "he added.

Diplomatic observers in Washington point out that Trump's decision to continue offering the media despite India's strong objections also underscores the growing global concern about the situation in occupied Kashmir.

In addition, the US decision to include the head of TTP as a global terrorist is being interpreted in Washington as a gesture aimed at assuring Islamabad that the United States is against all terrorist groups, whether they are targeting Afghanistan, Pakistan. or India

Posted on Dawn, September 12, 2019



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