Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had briefed his American counterpart, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, about Narendra Modi’s intentions to abrogate Article 370 and Article 35A for Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK), ThePrint reported on Monday.
According to the report, this was not the first time that the US was briefed on the issue as just two days after the Pulwama attack in February, Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Doval had phoned his American counterpart John Bolton and told him about the Modi government’s plans to do away with the ‘special status’ for IOK. However, the decision to bifurcate the state came much later, the report added.
Indian Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday announced the move to scrap Article 370, which provides a special status to the disputed territory, and proposed the bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories through a fresh Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019. The bill proposes making IOK a Union Territory with a legislature and Ladakh a separate Union Territory without an assembly.
Reportedly, Jaishankar’s meeting with Pompeo came on the sidelines of the ninth East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Bangkok on 1 August and at their meeting, Jaishankar had also reiterated to Pompeo that the US does not need to mediate in the Kashmir dispute and that any discussion on this issue, “if at all warranted”, will only be with Pakistan unilaterally.
The Modi government did not want to take a chance when it came to the US, and so all necessary safeguards were taken to apprise the Trump administration of the move, the report added.
According to the report, Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Monday briefed envoys of the P-5 nations: The US, the UK, China, France and Russia. It had also briefed envoys of all 15 members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), saying that the proposals that are currently under consideration of the Parliament of India are internal to India, the report added.
Last month, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had said that it was time to “move on” from Trump’s statement on US’ interest in mediating the Kashmir dispute between Pakistan and India. Trump, however, reiterated his offer during a media briefing in Washington last week.