US denies heads-up on Kashmir by India, calls for ‘all-actors’ talks
The United States on Wednesday denied it was either consulted of informed by India ahead of the changes in the constitutional status of Jammu and Kashmir and related development as had been reported in a section of India media, and said there is “an urgent need for dialogue among all actors”.
“The Indian government did not consult or inform the US government before moving to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special constitutional status,” a senior White House official said in a statement to Hindustan Times, adding, “There is urgent need for dialogue among all actors to reduce tensions and to avoid the potential for military escalation.”
Shortly before, Alice Wells, the acting head of the State Department’s South and Central Asia bureau, had said in tweet, “Contrary to press reporting, the Indian government did not consult or inform the US Government before moving to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special constitutional status.”
Some news reports in India had suggested that India had informed the United States of the Kashmir developments ahead of the changes effected Monday, and twice. First by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval to his US counterpart John Bolton, and then by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to his US counterpart Mike Pompeo. That’s probably why the United States felt compelled to issue two separate statements, one from the White House, where Bolton works, and by the state department for the secretary of state.
But the White House official went way beyond that terse tweet, and called fora an “urgent need” for dialogue among “all actors”, which assumes significance coming in the background of President Donald Trump’s repeated offer to mediate the Kashmir dispute despite being turned down by India.
“The United States calls for calm and restraint on all sides, noting the history of violence and conflict in the region,” the White House official said, and added, “The United States would welcome improved relations between India and Pakistan, and we will continue to support efforts that reduce tensions and create an environment conducive for a direct dialogue between India and Pakistan.