Ambassador Garcetti's Remarks at the 20th Indo-US Economic Summit
During the recent 20th Indo-US Economic Summit, U.S. Ambassador to India, Eric Garcetti, drew a parallel between the U.S. delegation's visit to Kashmir and U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, David Blome's visit to Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir (POK). Garcetti highlighted that a part of the U.S. delegation had been in Jammu and Kashmir during the G20 meeting, just as the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan had previously visited POK.
Reiteration of U.S. Stance on Kashmir Dispute
Garcetti emphasized the long-standing U.S. position on the Kashmir issue, stating it as a bilateral matter that should be resolved through diplomatic discussions between India and Pakistan. He pointed out that the issue should be addressed by the two countries involved and not by an external third party, including the U.S.
Response to Ambassador Donald Blome's Visit to Gilgit-Baltistan
These remarks came in response to U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, Donald Blome's recent private multi-day visit to Gilgit-Baltistan, a region that New Delhi considers as part of undivided Jammu and Kashmir, and thereby, an integral part of India. During his visit, Blome toured various tourist sites and examined ongoing United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) projects. He also met with the Deputy Speaker of the Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly, Sadia Danish, and a member of the assembly, Rani Sanam Faryad.
Controversy Surrounding Ambassador Blome's Previous Visit to POK
In October 2022, Ambassador Donald Blome had previously visited POK and met with the Pakistan-appointed Prime Minister, Tanveer Ilyas, in Muzaffarabad. This visit stirred controversy as he referred to the region as Azad Jammu and Kashmir, a term that is not accepted by India. During his visit, Blome paid his respects to the victims of the 2005 earthquake and reaffirmed the ongoing partnership between the U.S. and Pakistan.
Reaffirming Diplomatic Engagement
Despite the controversies associated with these visits, the U.S. continues to reaffirm its diplomatic engagement with both India and Pakistan. The U.S. maintains its stance that the Kashmir dispute is a bilateral issue that needs to be resolved by the parties involved. The country continues to encourage diplomatic discussions between India and Pakistan, emphasizing that no third party should intervene in the resolution process.