New Delhi stands ground on Kashmir in first top-level meet with US

Security personnel stand guard during restrictions following the abrogation of the provisions of Article 370 in Srinagar | Photo: PTI
In the first meeting since Article 370 was abrogated in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), India has told the US that the move was a policy decision in J&K state, inherently constituting an internal matter. In his meeting with US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan on Friday in New Delhi, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that cross-border terrorism originating from Pakistan should be the main focus of multilateral efforts, sources said.

They said that the meeting saw India brief the US side on the nature of the 370 move and what India aims to achieve from it through the leveraging of investments and closer alignment of central policies in the region. 

In the meantime, the US has clarified that its position on Kashmir hasn't changed and it continued to view it as a bilateral issue. "US President Donald Trump has made it very clear that his offer to mediate on J&K is dependent on both India and Pakistan accepting it. Since India has not accepted the offer, he (Trump) has made it clear that this is not on the table anymore," Indian Ambassador to the US Harsh Vardhan Shringla has said.

On Friday, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) began a closed-door meeting on Pakistan's letter requesting international intervention in Kashmir. 

The UNSC is discussing the Kashmir issue after 48 years, mostly at the behest of permanent member China. Russia's deputy permanent representative Dimitry Polyanskiy told reporters before entering the meeting that Moscow's view is that it is a "bilateral issue" between India and Pakistan. The outcome will not be a formal pronouncement as the consultations are informal. India and Pakistan are not attending the meeting, which is open only to the five permanent members and 10 non-permanent members.

Senior diplomatic sources said New Delhi remains confident that the UNSC won't take a decision that runs counter to its position. 

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