Congressional bill asks India to reverse course in J&K

Congressional bill asks India to reverse course in J&K

Sen. Chris Van Hollen. (AFP Photo)

 A federal government funding package passed by the US House of Representatives and the Senate has urged the Indian government to "reverse its course in Kashmir."

India on August 5 abrogated provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution to withdraw Jammu and Kashmir's special status and bifurcated it into two union territories.

“(The bill HR 1865) urges the Indian Government to reverse course in Kashmir,” Senator Chris Van Hollen said on the Senate floor on Thursday as the Senators passed the appropriations bill for the year 2020.

Now the two bills, passed by the US House of Representatives and the Senate, have to be consolidated into one before it could be sent to the White House for the President to sign it into law.

The Kashmir portion of the bill reflects the sense of the Senate and is not enforceable.

While the bill is mostly focused on domestic policy, it does has some foreign policy elements including India.

Mostly authored by Hollen, it includes language to hold Saudi Arabia to the ‘‘gold standard’’ section 123 agreement as a condition for Export-Import Bank financing for US nuclear exports.

“We should not be transferring sensitive nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia without the establishment of strong nonproliferation guardrails,” the Senator from Maryland said.

“I am also pleased that the bill retains my provisions to sanction foreign government officials responsible for the detention of American citizens and locally employed staff of US diplomatic missions, urges the Indian Government to reverse course in Kashmir, bans the sale of arms to Turkish President Erdogan's bodyguards, and mandates comprehensive oversight of the administration's travel ban and refugee resettlement policies,” he said.

“In addition, this legislation provides critical humanitarian and development assistance for our partners and allies around the world, despite President Trump's repeated attempts to cut the foreign assistance budget dramatically,” Hollen said in his remarks. 

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