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US describes the visit of foreign envoys to J&K as an important step

File photo of a foreign envoy, who arrived at a migrant camp on the outskirts of Jammu.

File photo of a foreign envoy, who arrived at a migrant camp on the outskirts of Jammu.   | Photo Credit: AP

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US State Department expressed concern over the continued detention of political leaders and restrictions on internet in the region.

The US State Department has said that the recent visit of envoys of 15 countries to Jammu and Kashmir is an ‘important step,’ but expressed concern over the continued detention of political leaders and restrictions on internet in the region.

The restrictions were imposed on August 5 last when India abrogated the Article 370 that gave special powers to Jammu and Kashmir, and bifurcated the State into two Union Territories.

In the first such trip by foreign diplomats post August 5, envoys of 15 countries, including the U.S., last week visited Jammu and Kashmir where they interacted with select political representatives, civil society members as well as top military brass with the Indian government, rejecting criticism that it was a guided tour.

Also Read: Criticism of envoys visit to J&K unfounded: MEA

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells, who will be travelling to South Asia this week, on Saturday expressed hope that the region will return to normalcy.

“Closely following @USAmbIndia and other foreign diplomats’ recent trip to Jammu & Kashmir. Important step. We remain concerned by detention of political leaders and residents, and internet restrictions. We look forward to a return to normalcy,” she said in a tweet.

Ms. Wells will travel to New Delhi from January 15 to January 18 to attend the Raisina Dialogue. She will also meet with senior government officials to advance the U.S.-India strategic global partnership following the success of the 2019 US-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue, and will discuss topics of mutual interest with members of the business community and civil society.

From New Delhi, Ms. Wells will fly to Islamabad where she will meet with Pakistan’s top officials and members of civil society to discuss issues of bilateral and regional concern.

Reacting sharply to India’s decision, Pakistan downgraded diplomatic ties with New Delhi and expelled the Indian high commissioner.

India has categorically told the international community that the scrapping of Article 370 was its internal matter.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 3:06:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/us-describes-the-visit-of-foreign-envoys-to-jk-as-an-important-step/article30548755.ece

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