Kashmir: India caucus co-chair statement to U.S. Congressional Record supports Narendra Modi

Indian officials lobby Capitol Hill after last week’s hearing on Kashmir

November 01, 2019 10:11 pm | Updated December 03, 2021 07:10 am IST - Washington DC

George Holding

George Holding

A little over a week after India was scrutinised at a U.S. House of Representatives hearing on human rights in South Asia, the co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, George Holding, submitted a statement to the Congressional Record in support of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Parliament for the recent actions in Kashmir.

Article 370 was temporary and it “might have worked well for those with political connections, but “denied economic opportunities for the people”, Mr. Holding said, adding that the statute created a “polarising environment” and was “exploited politically”.

“Several groups based in Pakistan were able to conduct cross-border terrorism that wreaked havoc on individuals and families, and led to a morbid economy,” the statement said and pointed to terror-related incidents in the last few weeks.

“These militant groups have also attacked migrant workers and those who are involved in the apple business , which is the chief crop of Kashmir,” Mr. Holding said, adding that the steps taken by Mr. Modi and the Indian Parliament need to be “applauded”.

India’s actions in Kashmir were severely scrutinised last week at a hearing in the House .

India’s U.S. Ambassador, Harsh Shringla, had explained the Indian position to Members of Congress at a briefing on October 16, days before the hearing.

‘Salutary impact’

A senior Indian official said the briefing had a “salutary impact”. However, Indian officials have been concerned about the narrative on Kashmir on the Capitol Hill and a lack of adequate support for India’s position. Mr. Shringla, who was in India whilst the hearing was on, has returned to Washington and resumed his meetings with U.S lawmakers.

The Embassy’s Twitter account posted photos of these meetings on October 29 and October 30 with Mr. Holding, Ranking Member of the Asia Subcommittee Ted Yoho, Texas Republican Pete Olson, Illinois Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi, Senators Cory Gardner and Sharrod Brown and others.

Deputy Ambassador Amit Kumar and other Indian diplomats have also met lawmakers and their senior staff, an Indian official told The Hindu .

“The relationship between India and the United States is an important strategic partnership and one that we need to constantly work at… to keep it at levels that are desirable,” Mr. Shringla told The Hindu on Thursday. “In this context, it is extremely important to keep Members of Congress briefed on the relationship and to not allow issues that could divert us from the larger purpose of this relationship,” he said.

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