WASHINGTON – U.S. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham has said that India's decision to change the status quo in Jammu and Kashmir "must be addressed" before it leads to a further escalation of tensions with Pakistan.
Graham, in tweets on late Aug. 7, said that he spoke to Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on the "growing crisis" in Kashmir and expressed hope that the "Trump administration would help de-escalate the current crisis."
"Just spoke with the Pakistani Foreign Minister about the growing crisis in Kashmir. India's decision to change the status quo must be addressed before it leads to a further escalation of tensions,” Graham tweeted.
"Hope the Trump administration will provide assistance to both Pakistan and India to find a way to de-escalate the current crisis. The last thing the region and the world needs is further military confrontations between India and Pakistan over Kashmir," the senator added.
Graham's remarks came after Pakistan expelled the Indian High Commissioner and downgraded its diplomatic ties with New Delhi, among other steps, in response to New Delhi's scrapping of special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
President Donald Trump had earlier offered to mediate on the Kashmir conflict, saying in a July 22 statement that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked him to mediate on the Kashmir dispute.
Although India denied ever asking him to do so, the U.S. president reiterated his stance last week, saying he's willing to help if both countries ask him to.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had that time said he was "surprised" by India's reaction to Trump's offer of mediation to bring Islamabad and New Delhi to dialogue table for resolving Kashmir conflict.
The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs adds: In response to the steps India has taken to revise the status of Jammu and Kashmir, Rep. Eliot L. Engel, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Sen. Bob Menendez, ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement:
“As the world’s largest democracy, India has an opportunity to demonstrate for all its citizens the importance of protecting and promoting equal rights, including freedom of assembly, access to information, and equal protections under the law.
“Transparency and political participation are the cornerstones of representative democracies, and we hope the Indian government will abide by these principles in Jammu and Kashmir. And at the same time Pakistan must refrain from any retaliatory aggression—including support for infiltrations across the Line of Control—and take demonstrable action against the terrorist infrastructure on Pakistan’s soil,” Engel and Menendez said.