SRINAGAR: The outgoing United States Ambassador to India Kenneth Juster, who is about to complete his four-year term, said that the Embassy on its own tried to gather information from all concerned parties – Kashmiris, political people across the spectrum, and the Government of India’s perspective when Article 370 was abrogated in August last year.
In an interview with The Indian Express, Juster was asked two questions on Jammu and Kashmir which are listed below:
Q: During your time, Article 370 was revoked and you had the opportunity to even go there (Jammu and Kashmir) a few months later. If you could share the impressions of your visit, at that point of time when you went there and saw the situation. And looking back, what is memorable about that visit?
A: Kenneth Juster (KJ): I did not feel that it was appropriate at that time to discus my trip publicly, and I still believe that. I can broadly tell you that it was important and valuable to have that opportunity to travel there. It was understood that we would not walk around on our own. We were part of a group.
But the Embassy has tried, with regard to the situation in Kashmir, to gather information from all concerned parties – Kashmiris, political people across the spectrum, and the Government of India’s perspective. Collectively, this information feeds into our own understanding and analysis of the situation. And then, if we have concerns, we express them privately with the Government of India. We have expressed publicly that we hope for a restoration of full access to the Internet, and for the realization of the economic benefits that have been discussed by all parties. That is our hope.
Q: Do you think that hope has been realized? Is India moving in that direction?
A: KJ: I have not been up to Kashmir since that visit in January 2020. I cannot give you an assessment on the ground. I think there’s still a way to go to realize the type of economic development that has been discussed. How much progress has been made? I am not able to give you a thorough answer.