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Month after US Ambassador’s Controversial PoK Trip, American Diplomats Visit J&K

This visit to the Valley comes a month after the US envoy to Islamabad, Donald Blome, travelled to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), and stirred a controversy by referring to the region as ‘Azad Jammu-Kashmir’. File pic/AP

The diplomats have reportedly met local political leaders and visited some sites, including the Shankaracharya temple in Srinagar city

Diplomats from the United States embassy in New Delhi have been on a Jammu and Kashmir visit this week, where they have reportedly met local political leaders and visited some sites, including the Shankaracharya temple in Srinagar city.

A US embassy official in New Delhi confirmed the visit and told News18, “Diplomats from the US embassy in New Delhi paid an official visit to Srinagar this week. The US diplomats accredited to India regularly visit all parts of the country as part of their efforts to expand cooperation with state and local governments and to develop people-to-people ties.”

This visit to the Valley comes a month after the US envoy to Islamabad, Donald Blome, travelled to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), and stirred controversy by referring to the region as “Azad Jammu-Kashmir”. India’s ministry of external affairs reacted strongly over this, and spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, “Our objection to the visit and meetings in Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir by the US ambassador to Pakistan has been conveyed to the US side.”

In a press release about the visit from October 2-5, the US embassy in Islamabad had said it aimed to “promote US-Pakistan partnership and highlight the two countries’ deep economic, cultural, and people-to-people ties”, detailing the US projects and investments in the area.

This is the first visit by any US diplomat to the union territory of J&K since 2020. Back then, US ambassador Kenneth Juster visited J&K, a trip that was planned by the Indian government to showcase the development on the ground since the removal of special status for the erstwhile state.

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