The State Department has said that there has been no change in the United States’ policy on Kashmir and the Biden administration still considers Jammu and Kashmir as a territory disputed between India and Pakistan.

Spokesperson Ned Price explained US stance in a news briefing after a string of statements by President Joe Biden and senior officials of his administration, outlining their policies towards the South and Central Asian regions.

The policy outline showed a gradual emphasis turning from Pakistan and Afghanistan to China. The statements also show a greater US reliance on India to help counter China’s growing influence in the region. But the State Department briefing indicates that the Biden administration is not insensitive to Pakistan’s concerns on Kashmir.

“I want to be very clear, there has been no change in US policy in the region,” said Price when reminded of a State Department tweet having no mention of the region’s disputed status.

The tweet welcomed restoration of 4G mobile internet in Indian occupied Kashmir but identified the area as “India’s Jammu and Kashmir”.

When a journalist questioned the tweet as a change in policy, spokesperson Price said: “This marks an important step for local residents, and we look forward to continuing political and economic progress to restore normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir.”

India had restored internet facility in occupied Kashmir earlier this week after 18 months of blackout to supress opposition to revocation of special status granted to the mountainous state in Indian constitution.

Though 4G mobile data services were restored, but the Indian government asked police to “closely monitor the impact of lifting of restrictions”.

A journalists drew the spokesperson’s attention to Twitter’s decision to block more than 500 accounts after the Indian government accused them of making inflammatory remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“I would say generally that around the world we are committed to supporting democratic values, including freedom of expression,” Price said and added that Twitter officials should be asked this question.

When asked to explain Washington’s pledge to India in dispute with China that the US would stand by its “friend and allies”, Price said the US was closely monitoring the situation and was concerned at Beijing’s “attempts to intimidate its neighbours”.

Meanwhile, there are statements and analyses by the US officials and scholars that Pakistan is an essential partner in region.

Defence Secretary Gen Lloyd Austin had said during his confirmation hearing that “Pakistan is an essential partner in any peace process in Afghanistan.”

Austin, who was a former head of the US Central Command, said that he “will encourage a regional approach that garners support from neighbours like Pakistan, while also deterring regional actors, from serving as spoilers to the Afghanistan peace process.”

Earlier, at a briefing arranged by the State Department’s Foreign Press Centre, James M. Lindsay, a senior vice president at the Council for Foreign Relations, said that the Biden administration would like to rebuild relationship with Pakistan and to make it more productive than it has been during the past.

He expressed the hope that the Biden administration would like to do what it can to make relationship with Pakistan more productive.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here