New Delhi, Mar 4 : The Biden administration is closely following developments in Jammu and Kashmir and welcomes steps taken by the Narendra Modi government to restore full economic and political normalcy in the Union Territory, consistent with India’s democratic values, says the US State Department.
Spokesperson Ned Price said the US policy towards the issue has not changed, and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has had opportunities to speak to External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, both bilaterally and in the context of the Quad.
“Yes. So, as I think we have said from this room before, as a government, certainly as the State Department, we continue to follow developments in Jammu and Kashmir closely. Our policy when it comes to – when it comes to it has not changed,” Price said at a news briefing on Wednesday. “We welcome steps to return the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir to full economic and political normalcy consistent with India’s democratic values.” Price also made it clear that US’ ties with India “stand on its own” and not hyphenated with Pakistan.
“Look, I think the point we would want to make is that United States has important relationships with India, as I said, but also with Pakistan. These relationships stand on their own in our view. They are not a zero-sum proposition when it comes to U.S. foreign policy.
“We are – we have productive, constructive relations, and productive and constructive relationships with one does not detract from the relationship we have at the other. It does not come at the expense at the relationship we have with the other,” Price said in reply to a question, according to the transcript of the statement available here.
“When it comes to India, we have a global comprehensive strategic partnership, and we’ve talked about that. When it comes to Pakistan, I addressed this the other week: We have important shared interests in the region. And we will continue to work closely with the Pakistani authorities on those shared interests.
“What we have done is we continue to support direct dialogue between India and Pakistan on Kashmir and other areas of – and other issues of concern. Of course, we’ve continued to call for a reduction of tensions along the line of control, returning to that 2003 ceasefire.”