New Delhi: The US Ambassador to India, Eric Garcetti on Tuesday dismissed criticism of the American envoy in Islamabad visiting Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) on the ground that a US delegation had also visited Jammu and Kashmir during the G20 meeting in Srinagar.
India had raised strong objections to the US Ambassador in Pakistan, Donald Blome’s recent visit to PoK, during which he repeatedly referred to the region as AJK, the abbreviation for ‘Azad Jammu and Kashmir’.
“The Quaid-e-Azam Memorial Dak Bungalow symbolises the cultural and historical richness of Pakistan and was famously visited by Jinnah in 1944. I’m honoured to visit it during my first trip to AJK”, his official Twitter handle had tweeted.
Ambassador Garcetti when asked about Blone’s PoK visit, said, “I know he has been there before, but our delegation has also visited Jammu and Kashmir during the G20 meeting.”
Ambassador Garcetti’s remark appears to indicate that the US is placing Jammu and Kashmir, which is a legitimate part of Indian territory, as a disputed area as it is being deviously termed by Pakistani propaganda.
Blome’s visit was the second high-profile visit by a US diplomat to PoK, after US Congresswoman Illhan Omar visited the region.
India had issued a strongly worded statement at the time saying: “She visited a part of Jammu and Kashmir illegally occupied by Pakistan. If such a politician wishes to practice her narrow-minded politics at home that may be her business, but violating our territorial integrity in its pursuit makes it ours.”