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Wednesday 3 June 2020

American envoys urged to aid India-Pakistan de-escalation

The US lawmakers urged the American diplomats to provide "assistance with documentation" on allegations of human rights violations in Kashmir and Pakistan

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Washington: A group of American lawmakers have expressed concern over the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and urged the American envoys in India and Pakistan to facilitate de-escalation of tension between the two countries as it presents ‘tremendous danger’ to global peace and a clear national security risk for the US.

In a letter to the American Ambassadors to India and Pakistan — Kenneth Juster and Paul W Jones respectively — on Friday, seven Congressmen said there is risk that the relationship between India and Pakistan will continue to devolve as a result of the fresh tension between the two countries following revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status. “This presents tremendous danger to global peace and a clear national security risk for the United States. Pakistan and India are both valued allies, crucial to our interests in the region, including the Afghanistan peace process,” the letter said.

“It is of the utmost importance that we leverage our relationships with their government to de-escalate the situation,” the Congressmen said and urged the two American diplomats “to do everything in their power” to de-escalate the tensions between India and Pakistan.

Signatories to the letter are Ilhan Omar, Raul M Grijalva, Andy Levin, James P McGovern, Ted Lieu, Donald Beyer and Alan Lowenthal. In the letter, the members of the American House of Representatives urged the two US envoys to “facilitate connections between Kashmiri-Americans and their family members in Jammu and Kashmir; insist that the Indian government restore communications in Jammu and Kashmir and allow media to access the region.”

Tensions between India and Pakistan spiked after New Delhi abrogated provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution to withdraw Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and bifurcated it into two Union Territories. Pakistan downgraded its diplomatic relations with India and expelled the Indian high commissioner following the revocation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir on 5 August.

Asserting that the abrogation of Article 370 was its “internal matter”, India has defended imposition of restrictions in the Kashmir Valley on the grounds that they were put to prevent Pakistan from creating more mischief through proxies and terrorists.

The US lawmakers urged the American diplomats to provide “assistance with documentation” on allegations of human rights violations in Kashmir and Pakistan and urge the Indian and Pakistani governments to allow independent, impartial investigations.

In another statement, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib said that while she has deep respect for India and its important relationship with the US, she condemned the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.

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