US reiterates Kashmir a bilateral issue

Washington, Oct 7 (IANS) Amid the current tensions between India and Pakistan, the US has reiterated that Kashmir is a bilateral issue between the two South Asian nations.

“…On the Kashmir issue, our position has not changed. We want this to be worked out between both sides, the issue of Kashmir,” US State Department spokesperson John Kirby said in the daily press briefing here on Thursday.

“And generally, generally speaking, I mean, we obviously want to see the tensions that exist right now be brought down and for dialogue to take its place — meaningful dialogue to try to address these issues bilaterally between the countries,” he said.

The State Department’s comments came as India-Pakistan relations dipped to a new low in recent times with cross-border terror attacks and the Indian Army’s surgical strikes at terror “launch pads” across the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir.

Based on credible information, the Indian Army early on the intervening night of September 28-29 carried out surgical strikes on terror launch pads across the LoC in which “significant casualties have been caused to the terrorists and those who are trying to support them”.

This came after the September 18 terror attack on an army camp in Uri town of Jammu and Kashmir which left 19 soldiers dead and a similar attack in Baramulla town in north Kashmir in which a Border Security Force trooper was killed.

These attacks took place amid large-scale violence in Jammu and Kashmir in which around 90 lives have been lost following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani in a gunfight with security forces on July 8.

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, in his address at the UN General Assembly session last month, alleged that India was causing human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir.

But Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj effectively finished off the Pakistani rhetoric saying in her UN speech that Islamabad should stop state sponsorship of terrorism and human rights abuses on the people of Balochistan province in Pakistan.

India also pulled out of the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (Saarc) Summit that was scheduled to be held in Islamabad in November citing Pakistan’s sponsorship of terrorism in the region.

Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan too followed suit citing the same reason.

Pakistan went sabre-rattling with its Defence Minister Khwaja Asif saying that his country’s “tactical devices (read nuclear) were not show pieces and would be used against India if its security was threatened”.

In his briefing on Thursday, Kirby said: “We’re confident that Pakistan has the security controls they need to have in place on their arsenal, and I’d let them speak to that more specifically”.



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