Srinagar: A news report about a diplomat from the United States of America visiting the Valley ahead of New Delhi appointing Dineshwar Sharma as a point man on Kashmir has triggered a debate.
Recently Indian Express reported that a United States diplomat visited Srinagar and met three state ministers and civil society activists less than three weeks before the Centre appointed Sharma an interlocutor to initiate dialogue on Jammu and Kashmir.
The diplomat wanted “to know the ground situation and understand the feasibility of a dialogue”.
Joshua Goldberg, political unit chief at the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs in Washington DC, visited Srinagar along with David Arulanantham, an official from the US Embassy in New Delhi.
An analyst while talking to Precious Kashmir said, “United States taking interest in Kashmir could be a good a news for the people of Kashmir as the US is a super power and if it intervenes then the resolution of Kashmir issue could be a matter of time.”
However, the analyst was quick to add that United States and New Delhi are enjoying very cordial relations since the day President Donald Trump has come into power and the possibilities about United States annoying New Delhi look bleak. “The President Trump has reiterated on many occasions that his country and India are on the same page vis-à-vis many issues including Kashmir. The US diplomat visiting Srinagar is a significant development but that doesn’t mean that America wants New Delhi to hold negotiations over Kashmir with Pakistan or give separatist a chance to put forth their view point,” the analyst added.
A Kashmir watcher said that US diplomats visit different countries and states just to keep themselves updated about the development in these areas. “We should stop reading between the lines. President Trump has left Kashmir for India. Goldberg visiting the Valley just before the appointment of Sharma as an interlocutor could be a coincidence and nothing more. The Trump administration has maintained silence over Kashmir from the very first day. During president Barrack Obama’s regime many US diplomats visited Srinagar but they never made a mention of Kashmir after returning to their country,” he added.
An official said that it seems the visit of the US diplomat was kept as a secret as many people are not aware about it. “It looks like that it was an unofficial trip aimed at just meeting a few people and nothing more. The US diplomat did not meet any of the dignitaries in the sate nor was the visit given any publicity,” the official added.
The news report carried by Indian Express had stated that Goldberg and David stayed for a night and met three ministers, human rights lawyer Parvez Imroz, Khurram Parvez of Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society and two journalists.
The report said that Goldberg was interested to “know the ground situation and viability of a reachout from Delhi, a dialogue process”.
“He was, in diplomatic style, enquiring about the scope for dialogue and whether Kashmiris would welcome dialogue,’’ one among those who met Goldberg had told the newspaper. “He also wanted to know the ground situation, especially after last year’s agitation and spurt in militant recruitment.”