NEW DELHI: The conditions in which the people of occupied Kashmir are living are unsustainable and must be improved, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters accompanying her on a trip to New Delhi where she held talks with India’s prime minister.

She said she would raise the matter with Narendra Modi later on Friday evening, adding that while she was aware of India’s position regarding the former state, she wanted to hear Modi’s plans for restoring calm to the disputed region.

“The situation for the people there is currently not sustainable and must improve,” Merkel said.

The region has been convulsed by protests against New Delhi’s decision to revoke the mainly Muslim area’s political autonomy.

India formally annexed the disputed region on Thurs­day amid a harsh security lockdown and widespread international censure.

On Thursday UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres reiterated his concern over the grave situation in occupied Kashmir.

“Well, just to reiterate our basic concerns that the secretary general has previously expressed his concerns about the situation in Kashmir,” Farhan Haq, the deputy spokesman for the UN chief, said when asked about the implementation by India of its decision to divide Jammu and Kashmir into two federally governed territories.

He said the secretary general, who met leaders of both India and Pakistan in the aftermath of India’s actions in the disputed Himalayan region, has appealed to the two sides to deal with the important issue through dialogue.

Published in Dawn, November 2nd, 2019