In a big diplomatic success for Pakistan, India gets an embarrassing blow

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In a big diplomatic success for Pakistan, India gets an embarrassing blow

NEW DELHI - In a big diplomatic success for Pakistan, India gets an embarrassing blow.

In a diplomatic embarrassment for India, the lockdown in Kashmir, the National Register of Citizens, and the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) that excludes migrant Muslims, all came under criticism by US lawmakers during a hearing on ‘Human Rights in South Asia’ in Washington on Tuesday.

India usually enjoys backing from the US government on Kashmir. On Tuesday, however, several lawmakers voiced anger over the clampdown in J&K. They questioned their government over its backing of India amidst reports human rights violations.

In Congressional hearing, the focus largely remained on questions of India removing special status to J&K on August 5, along with the restrictions and detentions.

US lawmakers grilled Alice Wells, assistant secretary of state for South Asia, and assistant secretary for human rights, Robert Destro, on the continuing restrictions in Kashmir and whether/ how the US was leveraging its relationship with India on easing the restrictions. At one point, Destro concurred with a lawmaker that Kashmir had a “humanitarian crisis”.

Wells said that while US “remains concerned” about the impact of India’s actions in Kashmir, institutions like the Supreme Court are working and it is examining the government’s decision.

Wells’ remarks were in response to a question by Congresswoman Ilhan Omar on whether the US is committed to emphasising Kashmiri voices in determining their future.

“I would underscore that Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi came in consecutive terms,” she said. “He achieved a majority vote in a diverse population. His actions were approved in parliament, including by Opposition members. The Supreme Court is reviewing that decision. The institutions of India’s democracy are working.”

The US believed that the Kashmiri people’s voice needed to be heard.