Senior US Congressman backs India on Kashmir
Francis Rooney, a Republican US Congressman from Florida, in a blog for The Hill (which focuses on Congressional issues), asserted that "India is an important ally of the US and we should support its position in Kashmir"
A senior US Congressman voiced strong support for India’s moves and claims on Kashmir vis-a-vis Pakistan one the eve of India-US 2+2 ministerial meet on Wednesday. Francis Rooney, a Republican US Congressman from Florida, in a blog for The Hill (which focuses on Congressional issues), asserted that “India is an important ally of the United States and we should support its position in Kashmir” In an article titled ‘Why the US should support India’s claim in Kashmir over those of Pakistan and China’, Rooney wrote on Monday, “Of the three claimants in Kashmir, India’s claim is the most credible. After the end of British rule, in the 1950’s, Jammu and Kashmir – approximately two-thirds of Kashmir – acceded to join India. The state was awarded a special administrative status, affording it autonomy over internal administrative decisions. Over the years, the Jammu and Kashmir state government has increasingly aligned with the Indian central government.”
Arguing that with the assistance of China, Pakistan continues to internationalise the Kashmir issue and to challenge India’s claims, Rooney wrote, “Their objective is to change the international perspective of the dispute. Pakistan consistently supports radical Islamic militant groups in Kashmir that routinely attack Indian interests there.” While defence minister Rajnath Singh will be given a ceremonial reception at Pentagon, external affairs minister S Jaishankar will meet his counterpart Mike Pompeo separately. A number of defence and non-defence related pacts are expected to be signed at the December 18 meet. Challenges from Pakistan-based cross-border terrorism is expected to figure high on the agenda of the meeting of the defence and foreign ministers of the two countries.“In Afghanistan, Pakistan has articulated the desire for a peaceful solution but turns a blind eye to terrorist groups seeking safe-haven in the tribal areas of Northwest Pakistan. Accordingly, it is difficult to accept Pakistan as a genuine partner for peace and good-faith negotiator in Kashmir. In 2007, a comprehensive peace plan in Kashmir was agreed to until Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf intervened to stop it,” wrote Rooney.
“Both Pakistan and China have vested interests in challenging India. Pakistan sees India as an existential enemy and China perceives India as a primary geopolitical competitor… India will remain a critical strategic ally in the Indo-Pacific region as we confront an ascendant China. For these reasons, we should support India’s claim in Kashmir over those of Pakistan and China,” he wrote. Rooney represents Florida’s 19th District in US Congress and is a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee. One of the wealthiest members of the US Congress, he had earlier served as the US envoy to the Holy See between 2005 and 2008.
(Courtesy: The Economic Times)