US says no change in its policy on Kashmir
Washington, Aug 9 (IANS) The US has 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", amid heightening tensions between the two neighbours after New Delhi revoked special status for Jammu and Kashmir.
When asked by reporters on Thursday if there has been any change in the Trump administration's policy on 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."
Responding to a question on Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan's statement that "India was carrying out a genocide in Kashmir", Ortagus said that 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," she added.
The spokesperson reiterated that the US was neither consulted nor informed by India about its decision to scrap Articles 370 and 35A of its Constitution.
"There was no heads up given," she said.
US President Donald Trump, whose earlier offered to mediate on the Kashmir conflict, is yet to comment on the developments in the region.
In a July 22 statement, Trump had said that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked him to mediate on the Kashmir dispute.
Although India denied ever asking him to do so, the US President reiterated his stance last week, saying he was willing to help if both countries asked him to.