Pakistan Calls on U.S. to Help Put an End to Kashmir Tensions

The government of Pakistan has urged the United States to do more and help end the standoff in Kashmir after India revoked the state’s autonomy, sparking anger among Pakistanis.

“The U.S. could do and the U.S. must do more to help defuse this situation and to perhaps inject some more sanity on the Indian side,” Asad Khan, Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.S., said in a Bloomberg interview on Friday. “We would expect that from all our friends. It really is a question of principle.”

Khan’s comments follow the decision by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to end the seven-decade-old autonomous status of the disputed state of Kashmir, which only escalated the already strained tensions between India and Pakistan.

So far, the U.S. has refrained from taking a side and expressing a view on India’s move. Asked about it, State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said the U.S. is “incredibly engaged in southeast Asia” and it’s policy toward Kashmir remains the same.

The Pakistani ambassador lamented the mild response from the U.S., but nonetheless pointed out that Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan “really hit it off very well” with President Donald Trump during a recent visit to Washington. At the meeting, Trump offered to mediate in the conflict, but India rejected the idea.

“Frankly, the U.S. could have made or should have made a stronger statement. As a major proponent of human rights, as the world’s leading democracy and also as the preeminent power today in the world, I think the kind of repression that we are seeing is something that warrants a strong response from the United States,” said the ambassador.

Ambassador Khan said earlier this week that Pakistan will review bilateral agreements and take the matter to the UN Security Council in response to the “unilateral and illegal actions” by India.

“We would not look to escalate, but we will respond in a very befitting manner if there is any violation of our territory,” Khan said, noting that the country’s army will remain vigilant.

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