After United States envoy’s visit to Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), US ambassador to India Eric Garcetti defended Donald Blome's visit. While talking to the reporters, Garcetti said that the Kashmir dispute must be solved bilaterally between India and Pakistan without the intervention of any third party.
Blome, US ambassador to Pakistan, had concluded his PoK visit on Sunday. During his visit, he met with the those in fields of business, academic, and representatives of the civil societies. He also met with ministers and deputy speaker of the assembly.
While responding to the questions regarding Blome’s visit, Garcetti said that US delegations had also visited Kashmir in India during the G20 summit.
"It's not my place to react to the US Ambassador in Pakistan but he's been there before and we obviously had part of our delegation in Jammu and Kashmir during the G20 as well," the US envoy told reporters during the 20th Indo-US Economic Summit.
Blome’s visit to PoK last year in October had triggered a controversy as he referred to region as “Azad Jammu and Kashmir”. India had strongly protested against the reference.
“We’ll stay engaged but this is an issue, we very religiously note, that has to be something that is resolved between India and Pakistan, not by any third party, including the US. This is an issue that has to be resolved between India and Pakistan and not by a third party, including the US," said Garcetti.
So far, India has not reacted to Blome’s visit to PoK. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the US embassy in Islamabad said that the purpose of the envoy’s visit was to explore opportunities for strengthening Gilgit-Baltisan’s climate resilience.
While asked about Canada’s allegation against India’s involvement in the killing of Khalistan separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, Garcetti said that it is not his place to speak on another country.
“We don’t talk about intelligence matters or criminal justice matters,” he said. Recently, a US envoy had confirmed that Canada received intelligence reports from ‘Five Eyes’ on India’s involvement in the Nijjar killing.