NEW DELHI: The European Union is concerned over the situation in Kashmir and it is important to restore the freedom of movement and normalcy there, the bloc’s Ambassador to India Ugo Astuto said on Tuesday.
The ambassador also said that the visit to Kashmir by the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) was not “an expression of EU’s policy decision.” “We are concerned over the situation in Kashmir…It is important to restore freedom of movement and normalcy in Kashmir,” Astuto said.
Speaking on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, he noted that the principle of equality is enshrined in the Indian Constitution and hoped that “it will be upheld.” On cross-border terrorism, he said Pakistan must take action against militants and terrorists operating from its soil. India and Pakistan should resolve issues through dialogue, Astuto said.
India has repeatedly asked Pakistan to take action against terrorist groups operating from its soil. This hasn’t happened but on the other hand, the architects of 26/11 Mumbai attack like Hafiz Saeed, Maulana Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and Sufayan Zafar continue to receive Pakistan military’s patronage. Bilateral relations between the two Asian neighbours worsened after New Delhi abrogated Article 370 in August that gave special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. Talking about Kashmir, the envoy said that India and Pakistan should resolve the issue through dialogue.
“Our position on Kashmir hasn’t changed since August. We have stressed a dialogue between India and Pakistan through diplomatic channels; means of communication should be restored in Kashmir. Our position has been consistent,” he added.