The United States wants New Delhi to quickly ease restrictions imposed in India-occupied Kashmir, a senior official said Thursday, declaring President Donald Trump’s willingness to mediate to ease tensions between India and Pakistan over the territory.
New Delhi controversially revoked on August 5 the autonomous status of the part of Jammu and Kashmir it controls. Hours before its move, it curtailed movement and shut down phones and the internet, bringing hundreds of thousands of troops in the occupied Himalayan territory.
The two nuclear-armed neighbours have since been locked into a war of words, with tensions heightening at the border. Trump also met separately this week with both Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan in New York.
“We hope to see rapid action — the lifting of the restrictions and the release of those who have been detained,” Alice Wells, the top State Department official for South Asia, told reporters.
“The United States is concerned by widespread detentions, including those of politicians and business leaders, and the restrictions on the residents of Jammu and Kashmir,” Wells said.
“We look forward to the Indian government’s resumption of political engagement with local leaders and the scheduling of the promised elections at the earliest opportunity,” she said.
Split between India and Pakistan since 1947, Kashmir has been the spark for two major wars and countless clashes between the two arch-rivals.
“The world would benefit from reduced tensions and increased dialogue between the two countries and, given these factors, the president is willing to mediate if asked by both parties,” she said.