WASHINGTON: Alarmed by the rising tensions in occupied Kashmir, the US State Department is urging all parties to show restraint and tone down their rhetoric.
Also, the Indian media reported on Tuesday that even a month-long curfew has failed to subdue the people of Kashmir who continue to reject New Delhi’s Aug 5 revocation of their state’s semi-autonomous status.
“The sense of injustice over the government’s far-reaching decisions is aggravated by the feeling of being silenced with the gun, as well as bitterness about the government’s timing,” India’s The Wire news agency reported.
A report in The Hindu newspaper noted that Kashmir was “seething in silent anger over the state’s division into two Union Territories and the scrapping of Article 370”.
“All seven million of us are under arrest,” a Srinagar resident told the newspaper’s correspondent while describing the current situation in held Kashmir.
Reports in the US media also quoted a US State Department official as telling journalists that Washington “continues to be very concerned by reports of detentions and the continued restrictions on the residents of the region”.
“We urge respect for human rights, compliance with legal procedures, and inclusive dialogue with those affected. We continue to call for calm and restraint, including on rhetoric,” the official added.
The official also urged restraint on the Line of Control (LoC) as media reports and think tank experts warned that tensions in the disputed region could lead to a war between South Asia’s two nucleararmed nations.
“We call on all parties to maintain peace and stability along the Line of Control and to prevent cross-border terrorism. We continue to support direct dialogue between India and Pakistan on Kashmir and other issues of concern,” the official said.
At a Washington think tank, the US Institute for Peace (USIP), a former US ambassador to Pakistan, Richard Olson, emphasised the need for the United States to play the role of a de facto crisis manager to de-escalate the tensions.
And a former Pakistani ambassador to the United States, Jalil Abbas Jilani, warned that if not defused, the tensions over Kashmir could lead to a war between India and Pakistan.
The two diplomats were sharing their views on the consequences of Kashmir’s annexation at two recent panel discussions at the USIP.
Both Mr Olson, who was the US ambassador in Pakistan from 2012 to 2015, and Mr Jilani, who served in Washington from 2013 to 2017, did not rule out the possibility of the Kashmir dispute triggering another India-Pakistan war.
Published in Dawn, September 4th, 2019