US working on two-prong strategy to ease Indo-Pak tensions over Kashmir issue: Senior officials

| | Washington
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US working on two-prong strategy to ease Indo-Pak tensions over Kashmir issue: Senior officials

Saturday, 24 August 2019 | PTI | Washington

US working on two-prong strategy to ease Indo-Pak tensions over Kashmir issue: Senior officials

The US is working on a two-pronged strategy to defuse fresh tensions between India and Pakistan after New Delhi revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, senior officials from the Trump administration here said.

The first strategy is to exert pressure on Pakistan to refrain it from indulging in any cross-border infiltration or providing material or financial support to terrorist activities in India, particularly in Kashmir, they said.

The second strategy is to encourage India to bring normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir and ensure that human rights of the people there are protected, political prisoners are released and channels of communications are reopened.

President Donald Trump is "calling" on Pakistan "to prevent the infiltration of militants across the line of control and to crack down on terror groups on its territory that have attacked India in the past", a senior US government official said.

Reflecting on the first part of the strategy, another official said in the midst of the escalating Indo-Pak tensions, it is important that Islamabad demonstrates its commitment to not let its soil being used for cross border terrorism.

Referring to the massive infiltration of terrorists and non-state actors by Pakistan inside India in 1989, the official said the US has warned Islamabad against repeating any such tactics.

"The 1989 playbook was a failure for both the people of Kashmir as well as for Pakistan," the official said, adding that the US does not want Pakistan to use the current Indo-Pak situation for massive infiltration of terrorist and non-state actors inside India.

US officials have also warned Pakistan of facing an imminent prospect of being blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) if Islamabad doesn't act on its commitments against terrorism financing.

France-based FATF is an inter-governmental organisation to develop policies to combat money laundering and terrorism financing.

Recently, in a telephonic conversation with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, Trump asked him to tone down the rhetoric against India and avoid escalating tensions over the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

On the second part of the strategy involving India, US officials said the Trump administration are focussing on human rights issues in Jammu and Kashmir, particularly in the Kashmir Valley.

The US "continues to be very concerned by reports of detentions" and continued restrictions in the region, a senior state department official said.

"The US urges respect for individual rights, compliance with legal procedures and an inclusive dialogue with those affected," the official added.

The human rights issue, another official said, is likely to come up during the meeting between Modi and Trump in France on the sidelines of the G-7 summit.

"The president will likely want to hear from Prime Minister Modi on how he plans to reduce regional tensions and uphold respect for human rights in Kashmir, as part of India's role as the world's largest democracy," the official said.

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