US senator slams India for ending Kashmir’s autonomy


NEW YORK: A senior US senator has deplored India’s annexation of occupied Kashmir, saying he was committed to human rights and self-determination for the people of the disputed state.

“India’s recent changes to the status of Jammu and Kashmir are a drastic shift away from decades of precedent and policy, increase the potential for escalated conflict between Pakistan and India and raise serious concerns about the safety and security of the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” Senator Bob Casey said in a statement as more and more American lawmakers have begun to speak out against the revocation of the territory’s special status.

Since the Indian government repealed Article 370 of its constitution — stripping occupied Kashmir of its special status — a strict lockdown and communications blackout has been imposed in the region. It has now been in place for more than 40 days.

“First and foremost, I am committed to promoting democracy, human rights and self-determination for the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” the senator aid.

“Accordingly, both India and Pakistan should refrain from incendiary actions that undermine security and human rights in the region.”

Senator Casey said, “While a final solution in Jammu Kashmir must ultimately be the product of bilateral negotiations between India and Pakistan, it is nonetheless critical that the United States have qualified, experienced diplomatic and political leadership at all levels of government when significant international events occur that impact US national security.

“The Trump Administration’s failure to appoint a US Ambassador Pakistan or an Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs has left the United States unprepared and ill-equipped to engage meaningfully to ensure the rights and safety of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.”