New Delhi | WTNS | Sep 27: Eric Garcetti, the US ambassador to India, on Tuesday said that the Kashmir dispute must be resolved bilaterally between India and Pakistan and not through the intervention of any third party, including the US.
The envoy, talking to reporters, also defended the recent visit of the US ambassador to Pakistan’s recent visit to Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir. Garcetti said that US delegations had also visited Kashmir in India during their visit as part of the G20. The equivalence drawn by Garcetti has drawn some attention.
“It’s not my place to react to the US Ambassador in Pakistan but he’s been before and we obviously had part of our delegation in Jammu and Kashmir during the G20 as well,” the American envoy told reporters on the sidelines of the 20th Indo-US Economic Summit.
He was questioned about ambassador Donald Blome’s recent visit to Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir. According to reports, Blome visited Gilgit-Baltistan and met the deputy speaker of the provincial assembly Sadia Danish.
“During his visit, ambassador Blome met with AJK prime minister Tanveer Ilyas and academic, business, cultural, and civil society representatives,” the US Embassy in Islamabad had said in a press release at the time. The use of AJK had sparked some controversy in India, given sensitivities over the status of Jammu and Kashmir, which India claims in its entirety.
On the issue of Kashmir, ambassador Garcetti stated that the United States would remain engaged. “This is an issue that has to be resolved between India and Pakistan and not by a third party, including the US,” he said.
This is in line with India’s stated desire for a bilateral resolution to the Kashmir dispute, in accordance with the 1972 Simla Agreement. It has opposed efforts by Pakistan to internationalise the issue by attempting to involve international organisations in the dispute.