A congressional subcommittee meeting on “Human Rights in South Asia: Views from the State Department and the Region” in the United States on Tuesday called for the country to play an active role in Jammu and Kashmir’s ‘humanitarian crisis’. US lawmakers have strongly urged India in the hearing to restore normalcy in the region.
Pramila Jayapal, the first Indian-American lawmaker in the House of Representatives expressed that India’s role as an ally of the US and status of the world’s largest democracy demanded that it uphold the tenets of human rights. She further said, “I recognise that the situation is complex. I recognise that Pakistan is not without its share of responsibility.”
Indian diplomats present raised concerns that the Congressional representatives did not address the issue of Pakistan sponsored cross border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir.
Congresswomen Ilhan Omar, who has been vocal in her criticism of Indian action in Kashmir said, that Indo-US ties were not only strategic but also built on common values and shared an understanding of human rights and democracy. She alleged that “The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP has threatened all these values,”
Alice Wells, acting assistant secretary of state disagreed with the allegations made by Congresswoman Omar stating that “The US has a strong and deep relationship with the Modi government.” She outlined the policy of the Trump Administration which is built on encouraging both India and Pakistan to engage in dialogue to resolve the border dispute and for Pakistan to dismantle terror groups including Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Muhammad operating from within its territory.
Wells also responded to the question from Senator Chris Van Hollen regarding the Modi Government not allowing US representatives to visit Kashmir. She said while government officials have not been able to visit Kashmir, they have been in contact with the government, civil society organisations and journalists working in the region. In her concluding remarks, Wells asked India to create a roadmap detailing all the measures it plans to undertake to restore political and economic normalcy in Kashmir.