Senior State Department official says Washington ‘very concerned’ by continued restrictions in restive region
The United States urged India on Tuesday to quickly release detainees and restore basic liberties in India-Occupied Kashmir to ease tensions in the flashpoint region.
“We continue to be very concerned by reports of detentions, and continued restrictions on the residents of the region,” a senior State Department official told reporters. “We urge respect for individual rights, compliance with legal procedures and an inclusive dialogue,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity after returning from a visit to the region.
Tensions have been high since India revoked autonomous rule in the part of Kashmir it controls on Aug. 5. Indian authorities imposed a communications blackout and heavy restrictions on movement from the eve of the intervention.
At least 4,000 people have been detained in India-Occupied Kashmir since then.
President Donald Trump has spoken in recent days by phone with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan to urge both sides to ease the tensions in Kashmir. Referring to India, the State Department official said, “We urge respect for individual rights, compliance with legal procedures and an inclusive dialogue.” She added: “We are aware of India’s concerns but continue to urge that they work as quickly as possible to restore normalcy in the region.”
Washington has called on India and Pakistan, both of whom are nuclear powers, to open a direct dialogue to resolve their dispute over the mountainous territory, a majority of whose population is Muslim. Trump has offered to play the role of a mediator, saying Modi had requested his services, an assertion that New Delhi formally denied.