The US is closely following India’s legislation regarding the new territorial status and governance of Jammu and Kashmir, a State Department official said on Wednesday. This came hours after Pakistan expelled the Indian envoy and downgraded its diplomatic ties. “The US is closely following India’s legislation regarding the new territorial status and governance of Jammu and Kashmir. We note the broader implications of these developments, including the potential for increased instability in the region,” a State Department spokesperson told news agency PTI.
India on Tuesday removed part of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution that gave Jammu and Kashmir a significant automony. The central government also divided the state in two Union Territories (UTs) - Jammu and Kashmir with its own legislature and Ladakh with legislature.
On Wednesday, the US had also said there was an “urgent need” for dialogue among all actors to reduce tensions and to avoid a potential military escalation in South Asia.
The State Department spokesperson said that “the US calls for calm and restraint by all parties”.
Expressing concern over detention of people in Jammu and Kashmir, the spokesperson said, “We continue to be concerned by reports of detentions and the continued restrictions on the residents of Jammu and Kashmir.”
“We urge respect for individual rights, compliance with legal procedures, and inclusive dialogue with those affected.” The US, the spokesperson said, calls on all parties to maintain peace and stability along the Line of Control, including “taking firm and resolute steps” to combat cross-border terrorism.
“We continue to support direct dialogue between India and Pakistan on Kashmir and other issues of concern,” the spokesperson said.
Pakistan on Wednesday decided to suspend bilateral trade with India. At the National Security Committee meeting, chaired by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, it was also decided to downgrade the diplomatic relations with New Delhi.
"Our ambassadors will no longer be in New Delhi and their counterparts here will also be sent back," Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told a local Pakistani tv channel.
The National Security Committee meeting was attended by Pakistan's Foreign Minister, Defence Minister, Interior Minister, Minister for Education, Minister for Human Rights, Minister for KA&GB, Law Minister, Adviser Finance, CJCSC, COAS, CAS, V-CNS, SAPM on Information, DG-ISI, DG-ISPR, Secretary Foreign Affairs and other senior officers.