The US State Department has said that the designation of Hizbul Mujahideen leader and United Jihad Council (UJC) chief Syed Salahuddin as a global terrorist does not reflect a change in the US policy on Kashmir, a media report said today.
“Our policy on Kashmir has not changed,” said a State Department spokesperson when asked if the designation indicated a change in the US policy on Kashmir, which Washington sees as a disputed territory, reported Dawn News.
Hours before a meeting between Donald Trump and Narendra Modi on June 26, the State Department declared Salahuddin a “specially designated global terrorist”.
The designation order claimed that in September, 2016, Salahuddin “vowed to block any peaceful resolution to the Kashmir conflict, threatened to train more Kashmiri suicide bombers, and vowed to turn the Kashmir valley ‘into a graveyard for Indian forces’”.
The reference to the need for “a peaceful resolution to the Kashmir conflict” and the description of the territory as “Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir,” — although largely ignored in Pakistan — was noted by opposition parties in India.
In an earlier statement to Dawn, a State Department spokesperson had said that Washington saw Kashmir as a dispute that needed to be resolved peacefully.
“The pace, scope, and character of any discussions on Kashmir is for the two sides to determine, but we support any and all positive steps India and Pakistan can take to forge closer relations,” the spokesperson added.