File photo of Bernie Sanders
File photo of Bernie Sanders | Facebook
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New Delhi: The Democratic presidential frontrunner Bernie Sanders has waded into the Kashmir issue, calling for the United States to support a UN-backed peaceful resolution in the region.

Speaking at the annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America in Houston Saturday said he is “deeply concerned about the situation” in Jammu and Kashmir where there is a communication lockdown since the Modi government announced its decision to abrogate Article 370 on 5 August.

“The communication blockade must be lifted immediately and the US government must speak out boldly in support of international humanitarian law and in support of an UN-backed peaceful resolution that supports the will of Kashmiri people,” Sanders said.

Sanders’ statements come just days after US President Donald Trump is believed to have discussed Jammu and Kashmir “at great length” with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the G7 summit at Biarritz in France.

While Trump has sought to balance his stand on Kashmir, seeking to ensure that he antagonises neither India nor Pakistan, Sanders has been a lot more direct and unequivocal in his criticism of the alleged human rights violations in the Valley.

Trump’s about-turn on the Kashmir issue has been a talking point in both India and Pakistan. A month ago, standing right next to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, Trump offered mediation on Kashmir. Last week, sitting next to Prime Minister Modi in Biarritz, he said he would rather the two countries resolve the matter bilaterally.


Also read: Should India be offended by BBC, Washington Post, New York Times coverage of Kashmir?


Kashmir on the US agenda

In the mid-1990s, when the Kashmir insurgency peaked, Kashmir had become a pet subject of the US administration. From the assistant secretary of state for South Asia at the time, Robin Raphel, contesting the Instrument of Accession that the Kashmir maharaja had signed, the US moved to a middle path, saying that India and Pakistan must resolve the issue in accordance with “the wishes of the Kashmir people”.

A second and third potential flashpoint over Kashmir was averted during India-Pakistan’s nuclear tests in 1998 and the Kargil conflict the following year.

Over the years, however, relations between the two countries improved with India and the US signing the nuclear deal in 2008.

Even before he was elected, the then-Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama in 2008, one month before the Mumbai attacks, had made the link between Kashmir and Afghanistan-Pakistan and pointed out that the US should try a “facilitate a better understanding between Pakistan and India and try and resolve the Kashmir crisis…”

With Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, however, President Obama soon toned down his rhetoric.

In 2011, Clinton’s famous quote about Pakistan keeping “snakes in the backyard” that sometimes come back to bite it made the headlines. Kashmir was then firmly put in the category of being a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan.


Also read: US wants information on Kashmir from Modi govt in private, concerned over detentions


 

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8 Comments Share Your Views

8 COMMENTS

  1. Well. Mr.Sanders is not good in politics. By taking a stand against India in the name of Human Rights he would only remain as candidate for ever and even in dreams he would not become President. He can preserve this till results

  2. 1. We Indians have to accept that American politician and possible Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is entitled to express views on Kashmir. However, I feel that it would be necessary for someone to tell him that Indian government considers Kashmir issue as an internal matter and further that it has not sought any advice from other countries. 2. This news report about press conference of Bernie Sanders confirms my belief that in the USA there are pro-Pakistan sympathizers in both Democratic and Republican parties. 3. I am of course aware of fact that in the USA administration too there is still a pro-Pakistan lobby which is quite active. This is so despite accepted fact that the Pakistani establishment, especially Pakistan’s intelligence wing ISI, provides funds and other support to terror outfits like JuD, LeT, JeM, Taliban and others. 4. I think our government is quite aware of views of politicians like Bernie sanders as also of our own disgruntled politicians. I am sure NDA government will certainly deal with every problem in a professional manner.

  3. What the Dummy Khan Niazi is not realizing is talking to “”Islamic Society” in America is actually counterproductive. There is huge resentment cutting across other divisions among non Muslims against Muslim Jihad aggression. You are going to see more R wing nationalist parties coming to power in Europe.

    Near home in Sri Lanka, hard core anti Muslim leaders and parties are gaining strength after Church bombings by Muslims.

  4. Sanders should worry more about the weekly mass shootings in his country before he lectures us. It is interesting that he made these anti-India comments at an Islamic convention. Is he taking the support of the Indian origin population of USA for granted? The Indian origin population better take note of it.

    • Sanders is an extremist left winger. He supports Jihad causes all over. He is a clown and is unlikely to go anywhere near nomination, let alone Presidency.
      Rest assured he will be rebuked and neutralized.

      A NY Congress man was made to apologize. Next target is the guy from Michigan, ironically another Jew.

  5. India should either support separatist movement in Baloch and make it a hot international human rights issue or engineer join India movement in PoK so that will of the Kashmiris will be determined! Ideally, we shoukd do both. Though we have finished the internal Kasmir issue, the external dimensions now need to be cleaned up fully so that UK, USA and China will have nothing to talk about it. In fact, we can offer provisions of original art 370 to our Kashmir minus Jammu and PoK as a new Kashmir State under indian union!! That will give protection to Kashmiris from China and Pak along with recently defunct constitution, flag etc within indian union. We need to think out of box and make life miserable for these human rights lovers!!.

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