US refuses to back Modi’s claims


WASHINGTON: The United States continues to view the Kashmir issue as a dispute that needs to be settled by both India and Pakistan, says the US State Department, while distancing itself from India’s claims over Pakistan controlled Kashmir.

In his Independence Day speech on Monday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi refused to address the ongoing military oppression in Kashmir.

Instead, he accused Islamabad of suppressing the people of Azad Kashmir and Balochistan, saying that “Pakistan shall have to answer to the world” for the alleged atrocities committed against the people in these regions.

At an afternoon news briefing, an Indian journalist asked Elizabeth Trudeau, director of the US State Department Press Office, to address Modi’s comments. The journalist also claimed that the people of “Azad Kashmir were all Indians,” and said to the State Department official that the “time has come now to speak out” for those people as they were not allowed to express their views.

The journalist also reminded the State Department official that the Indian prime minister had directed his ministry of foreign affairs to raise this issue at the international level. “I wouldn’t speak on Mr Modi’s comments. That would be for him to speak to,” said Ms Trudeau.

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