US reiterates Kashmir a bilateral issue

Washington, Oct 7: Amid rising tensions between India and Pakistan, the US has reiterated that Kashmir is a bilateral issue between the two South Asian nations.

"On the Kashmir issue, our position has not changed. We want this to be worked out between both sides, the issue of Kashmir," US State Department spokesperson, John Kirby, said in the daily press briefing here on October 6.


The State Department's comments came as India-Pakistan relations have ebbed to a new low with multiple cross-border attacks and the Indian Army engineered surgical strikes at terror "launch pads" across the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir.

Indian Army carried out the surgical strikes during the intervening night of September 28 and 29, causing "significant casualties" to the terrorists and "those who are trying to support them".

This came after the September 18 attack on an army camp at Uri town in Jammu and Kashmir, which left 19 soldiers dead and a similar attack in Baramulla town in north Kashmir in which a Border Security Force trooper was killed.

These attacks took place amid large-scale violence in Jammu and Kashmir in which around 90 lives have been lost following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani in a gunfight with security forces on July 8.

Pakistan Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, in his address at the UN General Assembly session last month, alleged that India was causing human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir.

But Indian External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj, effectively finished off the Pakistani rhetoric saying in her UN speech that Islamabad should stop state sponsored terrorism. Pakistan was called into question for human rights violations by its security forces in the Balochistan province of Pakistan.

India also pulled out of the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (Saarc) Summit that was scheduled to be held at Islamabad in November.

Pakistan went sabre-rattling with its Defence Minister, Khwaja Asif, saying that his country's "tactical devices (read nuclear) were not showpieces and would be used against India if its security was threatened".

Kirby, however, said yesterday that the US is confident that Pakistan has all its security controls in place as far as the country's arsenal is concerned, adding that he would look forward to discussing the matter specifically with them.


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