US clarifies it was not informed about J&K status plans

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US clarifies it was not informed about J&K status plans

WASHINGTON: The US on Wednesday rejected claims that it was apprised by India of the intentions to change Jammu and Kashmir's special status.

"Contrary to press reporting, the Indian government did not consult or inform the US government before moving to revoke Jammu and Kashmir's special constitutional status," according to the US State department clarification.

The message was posted on Twitter, and was apparently signed by Alice Wells, Acting Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia. Ambassador Wells was in Islamabad yesterday to talk with Pakistani leadership on Afghanistan peace process.

The Modi government on Monday revoked Article 370, which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and moved separate bills to split the state into two union territories. Pakistan, in reaction, condemned the decision and urged the international community to recognize the right of the Kashmiris to self determination.

India's move was a surprise for the international community, especially when the United Nations Security Council has stated in its resolutions that the territorial changes in the disputed areas could not be made. Even President Donald Trump had raised the issue during Prime Minister's visit to the U.S. that he was willing to mediate between the two countries to resolve the Kashmir issue.

Afterwards, the Indian media outlets reported that American officials were informed about the decision. The reports claimed that External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had briefed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about the government's plans to take away the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir.

The reports had quoted unnamed sources saying that earlier this month, and then in February, two days after the Pulwama attack, the Indian leadership and told the American officials about the plans.

The US has not officially clarified that it was not informed or consulted about any such decision. However, the State department had issued a statement two days ago saying that it was India's internal matter. Though it said that it was "concerned about reports of detentions and urge respect for individual rights and discussion with those affected communities." It also called on all parties to maintain peace and stability along the Line of Control.