Kashmir a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan, call for restraint and calm, no change on Kashmir policy : US

New Delhi/Aug,8: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Friday suggested that the groundwork for revoking Constitutional provisions according special status to Jammu and Kashmir was initiated during the previous Government, and asserted that the armed forces are fully prepared to deal with any security challenges on the western front.
In an address at a think-tank, the Defence Minister also complimented the armed forces for not allowing the situation to slide in Jammu and Kashmir following India’s decisions on Kashmir.
“We have biggest apprehension from our neighbour. You can change your friend but you do not have the option to choose your neighbour. I am praying that no country has a neighbour like the one we have,” Singh said.
The Defence Minister said the decision taken by the Government to nullify provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution and creating two Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh has ended the “discrimination” faced by the people during the last 70 years.
Singh said the groundwork towards a permanent solution for the issue has been laid during the first term of the Narendra Modi Government.
“The decision will have some effects,” he added, saying that the neighbouring country is not happy and it will try to disturb peace.
“Our Armed Forces have accepted the security challenge and are fully prepared to meet any threats,” he said.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had met External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar in Bangkok last week.

The State Department spokesperson said the US was closely monitoring the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

Ortagus reiterated earlier statements that the US was not consulted and informed by India about its decision on scrapping articles 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution.

“There was no heads up given,” she said.

Successive US administrations’ policy have been to encourage India and Pakistan to resolve their differences through dialogue.

The Trump administration has insisted that Pakistan needs to create conducive conditions for talks by taking irreversible and decisive actions against terrorist groups operating from its soil.

Meanwhile, after Acting Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Alice Wells, another senior US diplomat is heading to India.

The visit was pre-scheduled but it would be used to discuss the current issues, Ortagus said.

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