EU calls on India, Pak to resume dialogue over Kashmir

A security jawan keeps vigil as a road is blocked with barbed wires at Lal Chowk after bifurcation of the Jammu and Kashmir state came into existence. (PTI Photo)

The European Union has called on India and Pakistan to avoid escalation of tension over the Kashmir issue and resume bilateral dialogue for a peaceful and political solution to the matter after the Indian government revoked Jammu and Kashmir's special status.

Reacting sharply to India's move to abrogate Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir to bring it in line with the rest of the country, Pakistan downgraded diplomatic ties with New Delhi and expelled the Indian envoy.

Pakistan has been trying to internationalise the Kashmir issue but India has asserted that the abrogation of Article 370 was its "internal matter". New Delhi has also asked Islamabad to accept reality and stop its anti-India rhetoric.

Marketa Homolkova, First Secretary, Delegation of the European Union (EU) in Geneva, made the statement while speaking at the General Assembly's First Committee discussion on ‘Regional Disarmament and Security’ on Tuesday.

“In a moment of renewed tensions around Kashmir, we call on both parties to avoid escalation and encourage them to resume bilateral dialogue, with a view to finding a peaceful and political solution,” the EU official said here.

Her comments came as 23 EU parliamentarians visited Kashmir to assess the situation in the region.

The delegation, while ending their visit on Wednesday, termed the dilution of Article 370 an internal issue of India and said they stand by the country in its fight against terrorism.

In her remarks, Homolkova also highlighted the conflict in Syria.

She said the EU condemns, in the strongest terms, all attacks against civilian populations and civilian infrastructure, including health, educational and water facilities, by the Syrian regime and its allies, which contravene international humanitarian law.

On the situation in North Korea, she said the repeated ballistic missile launches by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, in violation of multiple UN Security Council Resolutions, represent a grave threat to regional and international peace and security and undermine the ongoing international efforts towards lasting peace and security on the Korean Peninsula.

Speaking about Iran, she said the EU urges Tehran to return to full Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) compliance and called on the country to play a constructive role in the region, specifically not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons.

The EU also called upon Iran to take all the necessary measures to fully respect relevant UN Security Council resolutions related to the transfer of missiles and relevant material and technology to state and non-state actors in the region.

She also voiced EU's regret over the withdrawal of the United States from the Iran nuclear deal.

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