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MEA accepts U.S. use of ‘administered Kashmir’

Govt. move marks sharp shift in position on J&K

The External Affairs Ministry, in an apparent volte face, accepted on Thursday that the U.S.’s usage of the term “Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir” was acceptable and “affirms” India’s position.

In response to questions on the issue that has snowballed ever since the U.S. State department used the term while designating Hizbul Mujahideen commander Syed Salahuddin as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist on June 26, the MEA spokesperson said, “The use of the term ‘Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir’ merely affirms our position that Syed Salahuddin has been involved in cross-border terrorism in India”.

Objections in UN

The acceptance of the term appears to be in contrast to the government’s position earlier this month, when the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations Offices in Geneva, Mr. Rajiv Chandar told the Human Rights Council that the term was unacceptable. During the proceedings of the 35th session, Ambassador Chandar objected to the use of the term by the Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

“The entire State of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India. Pakistan remains in illegal occupation of a part of our territory. Therefore, the neutrality of the phrase “Indian-administered Jammu & Kashmir” is artificial,” the Indian envoy had said. (http://www.pmindiaun.org /pages.php?id=1485)

Downplaying the significance of the American wording, the MEA spokesperson also said the term had been used before. “Similar term has been used in the State Department’s country reports on terrorism brought out every year, including in 2010-2013,” he said.

In a second statement issued on Thursday evening the MEA added that “India’s position that the entire State of Jammu & Kashmir is an integral part of India is well known. The U.S. government has been apprised of the same once again.”

Rarely used reference

In its report on Thursday, The Hindu had reported that the State Department website had rare references to the term “Indian-administered” and had only used it once in the context of designations of terrorists and Foreign Terrorist Organisations, in 2001.

Former diplomats pointed out that the phrase, which was objectionable to India as New Delhi claims all of Jammu and Kashmir as an “integral part”, has been objected to in the past, even when it is used by international publications.

“We don’t allow any map or book or magazine to be published with anything but a full map of Jammu and Kashmir. How can we accept a term like this which divides Jammu and Kashmir?” said former Ambassador Rajiv Dogra, who has served in Pakistan, and called the MEA statement “irresponsible”.

 

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Corrections & Clarifications: This article has been corrected for a factual error

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Printable version | Feb 21, 2020 11:24:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/mea-accepts-us-use-of-administered-kashmir/article19180923.ece

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