The United States on Thursday said that it wanted India to ease restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir. “We hope to see rapid action – the lifting of the restrictions and the release of those who have been detained,” said Alice Wells, the acting assistant secretary for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, as she addressed the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Wells said the US was concerned by “widespread detentions” in the Valley. “We look forward to the Indian government’s resumption of political engagement with local leaders and the scheduling of the promised elections at the earliest opportunity,” she added.

India imposed a communications blackout, detained Kashmiri political leaders and put restrictions on public movement on August 5 before revoking Jammu and Kashmir’s special constitutional status. It also split it into two Union Territories. Though India has claimed that the situation is getting back to normal and communication restrictions are being lifted gradually, activists and journalists claim the curbs are still in place in most places in the state.

Wells said US President Donald Trump was “willing to mediate if asked by both parties”. She, however, mentioned that India has time and again refused help. Wells said Trump has a strong relationship with the leaders of both India and Pakistan. “The world would benefit from reduced tensions and increased dialogue between the two countries,” she added.

Trump has reiterated his offer to mediate in the dispute between India and Pakistan after the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status several times. His latest offer came hours ahead of his bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday. However, New Delhi has turned down Trump’s offer and maintained that Kashmir is an internal matter. The US president first inserted himself into the dispute in July by claiming that Modi had asked him to mediate. India had refuted the claims but the Trump administration said the president stood firm on his statement.

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