India’s decision to change status quo in Kashmir must be addressed, says US senator

Published August 8, 2019
US Republican Senator Lindsey Graham with Prime Minister Imran Khan and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi during the premier's visit to Washington in July this year. — Photo courtesy Twitter
US Republican Senator Lindsey Graham with Prime Minister Imran Khan and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi during the premier's visit to Washington in July this year. — Photo courtesy Twitter

US Republican Senator Lindsey Graham spoke with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on the "growing crisis in Kashmir" and expressed hope that the Trump Administration would help de-escalate the current crisis.

"Just spoke with the Pakistani foreign minister about the growing crisis in Kashmir. India’s decision to change the status quo must be addressed before it leads to a further escalation of tensions," said the senior senator on Twitter late Wednesday.

"Hope the Trump administration will provide assistance to both Pakistan and India to find a way to deescalate the current crisis. The last thing the region and the world needs is further military confrontations between India and Pakistan over Kashmir," he added.

Related: Trump may have to mediate on Kashmir sooner than he expected: observers

Graham's comments follow Pakistan's decision to downgrade diplomatic ties with India and suspend bilateral trade, among other steps, in response to New Delhi’s move to annex occupied Kashmir.

The National Security Committee (NSC) — the country's top national security body — which met on Wednesday for the second time in three days, also directed the armed forces to remain vigilant. The committee had last met on Sunday, a day before India announced revocation of Article 370, which gave occupied Kashmir an autonomous status, and legislated to bifurcate the Valley into Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir.

US President Donald Trump, whose offers to mediate on the Kashmir conflict have been shot down by India, has yet to comment on the developments in the region.

Read: 'Trump supplied a quick trigger': What the Indian media has to say about BJP govt revoking Kashmir's autonomy

In a July 22 statement, President Trump 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, Trump reiterated his stance last week, saying that he’s willing to help if both countries ask him to.

Prime Minister Imran, in a message last week condemning 'new aggressive actions' by India, had reiterated that Pakistan was open to mediation.

"President Trump offered to mediate on Kashmir. This is the time to do so as [the] situation deteriorates there and along the LoC with new aggressive actions being taken by Indian occupation forces," the premier had said, warning: "This has the potential to blow up into a regional crisis."

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