Howdy Modi! US to India: Lift restrictions from Kashmir, hold election, release detainees, talk to Pak

Contrary to Indian media reports, this is the official position of the US state department (official link below)

Allice Wells, US Acting Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia
Allice Wells, US Acting Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia

Tathagata Bhattacharya

The US has actually urged India to take “rapid action” to lift communication and movement restrictions imposed in the Kashmir Valley in a special briefing on the sidelines of the UNGA meet. Washington has also nudged New Delhi to start talking to Pakistan, release those who’ve been detained and hold election in the Valley at the earliest.

Surprisingly, Indian media has not reported this while going gaga over the US rebuking Pakistan for not voicing concern for the condition of Muslims in China. Coming just days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Howdy Modi’ event that effectively kicked off US President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, this is possibly the worst diplomatic thumbs down that any government or its head can receive.

“We hope to see rapid action in the lifting of the restrictions and in the release of those who have been detained,” Alice Wells, the US State Department’s Acting Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs, told reporters at a briefing on the sidelines of the United National General Assembly in New York. “We look forward to the Indian Government’s resumption of political engagement with local leaders and the scheduling of the promised elections at the earliest opportunity…As President Trump emphasised, Prime Minister Modi made a commitment that the recent changes to the status of Kashmir will improve the lives of the Kashmiri people, and we look to him to uphold this promise,” she said.

Alice Wells added that the US was ready to mediate should New Delhi and Islamabad agree. “I think we are interested in knowing the next steps in engagement and encouraging that political dialogue to begin…I think the President’s message was clear. He has a strong relationship with the leaders of both India and Pakistan, and the world would benefit from reduced tensions and increased dialogue between the two countries. And given these factors, the President is willing to mediate if asked by both parties,” were her words.

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Published: 28 Sep 2019, 6:00 PM