US Cautions Against Assumptions Linking Pak To Kashmir Violence

6 December 2014
Daily Times

Washington DC: The United States has cautioned against making any assumptions linking Pakistan to the latest violence in the Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK), while also brushing aside the notion that last week's meeting between Army Chief General Raheel Sharif and Secretary of State John Kerry was somehow connected to the flare-up in Uri area. A State Department spokesperson, while expressing concern over violence in the disputed Himalayan region divided between the two countries, also urged India and Pakistan to hold dialogue on Kashmir issue. 'I think that you are conflating a couple of things. Obviously, we know the secretary and the army chief of staff had a very productive discussion on last Sunday on a range of security-related issues, and again, we are concerned about any violence in Kashmir, and I would not jump to conclusions here,' Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf told an Indian journalist in response to his questions at the daily briefing. The premise of the question sought to put the blame on Pakistan for Friday's incident and the questioner also wanted to know the US position if there was a link between the meeting and the fighting involving militants and Indian soldiers in Uri in the IoK. 'No, I was saying - I actually was trying not to accept the premise of the question,' the spokesperson emphasised, when asked if she accepted the premise in the question about who might have been behind the violence. Asked if the US does not know whether there was any Pakistani involvement, the spokesperson cautioned against any assumptions: 'I would not assume anything.' According to media reports, 11 Indian soldiers and six militants were killed when fighting broke out in Uri, rocking the region ahead of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the held Kashmir. Reiterating Washington's position on addressing the Kashmir dispute, the spokesperson said: 'So obviously we are concerned about any violence in Kashmir. Our policy on Kashmir has not changed. We still believe that the pace and the scope and character of India and Pakistan's dialogue on Kashmir is for those two countries to determine, of course.' She also added that American embassies in both capitals, Islamabad and New Delhi, 'have raised these types of incidents with their respective host governments and certainly encouraged both to continue working together on the issue.' Later, a senior State Department official said the United States strongly condemns Friday's terrorist attacks in Kashmir, which claimed the lives of innocent civilians, military and police personnel. 'The United States remains firmly committed to working in close partnership with India to defeat terrorism in all its forms. Our hearts go out to the families of those affected by this deplorable attack,' a statement issued on Friday evening said. Meanwhile, Indian media reports claimed that the Indian Army has recovered arms and ammunition from the slain terrorists that have Pakistani markings. Among the arms recovered include six AK-47 rifles, shotguns, night-vision goggles, magazines, grenades, etc. The terrorists were also carrying Indian currency. In further evidence of Pakistani involvement, the terrorists were carrying food packets with Urdu markings. These food packets, say sources, are commonly used by the Pakistani Army, the Indian media alleged.