Rep. Carson Statement on Situation in Kashmir
Indianapolis, IN – Congressman André Carson, one of three Muslims serving in the United States Congress and a senior member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, released the following statement on the change to Kashmir’s special status by the Indian government.
“I have been discussing the changes in Kashmir’s status with a wide range of stakeholders, including Indian Americans, Pakistani Americans, and Kashmiris themselves. When India made the decision to revoke Kashmir’s special status, my initial focus was on protecting the Muslim community’s rights and avoiding increased militant activity in the territory. These are longstanding concerns that are clearly reflected in U.S. policy, which has been dedicated to maintaining the delicate balance in Kashmir through a guiding hand approach.
“I am also increasingly concerned that the Indian government is not fully prepared to peacefully finalize these changes to the status of Kashmir. Already a heavily militarized zone, Kashmir has been flooded with additional military troops, and the change in policy has demonstrated a go-it-alone approach with little regard for Kashmir’s social stability or the rights of its majority Muslim population. Following the Eid al-Adha holiday and the recent closures of mosques, it is becoming clear that this solo approach could be inappropriate.
“The United States must be a partner with both Pakistan and India, providing a helping hand as these two regional powers mediate their disagreements. However, with these unilateral moves to cut off lines of communication, isolate residents, restrict the movement of Kashmir’s citizens, and other alarming actions taken under the guise of security, I am increasingly aware that this regional crisis is escalating and could lead to greater conflict.
“By independently changing the sensitive arrangement governing Kashmir’s special status, the recent changes have failed to seek out the opinions of Kashmiris, managed to rapidly increase the tension between two nuclear powers, and put the Afghan peace process at risk.”