SRINAGAR(AFP): US senator John McCain held discussions “on various important issues” with India’s top representative in Kashmir and senior Indian army officials on Tuesday, the government said.
“During their wide-ranging discussions lasting for about two hours, Senator McCain and the Jammu and Kashmir Governor N.N. Vohra exchanged views on various important issues of mutual interest,” a statement from the government read.
It said the chief of the Indian army’s northern division, of which Kashmir is an important part, and the army chief of the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley were also present during the discussions.
Full details of the discussions were not made available to the media. The senior Republican, who lost to Barack Obama in the 2008 White House race, was accompanied by two foreign policy advisers and diplomats from the US embassy in New Delhi.
The senator later met Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. The meetings took place in Indian-administered Kashmir’s summer capital Srinagar, once the hub of an urban insurgency.
US envoys and top ranking diplomats have regularly visited the state since the start of an insurgency against Indian rule in 1989 which has left nearly 40,000 people dead by official count, although rights groups put the toll at twice as high.
India accuses Pakistan of arming and funding the militants, a charge denied by Islamabad. US has been urging Pakistan to act against Kashmiri militants, who want Kashmir to merge with Pakistan or make it an independent state.