World

Congressman Tom Suozzi publicly apologises following outcry over Kashmir remarks

ANI | August 13, 2019 08:54 AM
Tom-Suozzi-Kashmir-remarks

Washington D.C. [USA], Aug 13 (ANI): Congressman Tom Suozzi, who had instigated an outcry among the Indian-American community in the United States following his provocative remarks on Jammu and Kashmir, last week, issued a public apology on Monday (local time), saying "it was a mistake not to consult with some of my Indian-American friends and supporters" before writing the letter.

In a detailed letter addressed to the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on August 9, Suozzi voiced his concerns focusing on the fact that "Kashmir was a potential flashpoint for conflict between India and Pakistan."

"The point made to me repeatedly was that there could be no attention paid to the problems in Kashmir on the eastern border with India until the western border was sufficiently addressed," he said in the letter.

The Congressman added he was concerned over the fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "recent action in Kashmir had contributed to tensions that were now higher than ever."

"Prime Minister Imran Khan's recent visit to the US demonstrates that our countries are now working together to counter-terrorism and other security-related issues along Pakistan's border with Afghanistan. The Indian government's recent actions in the territories of Jammu and Kashmir demand that we also focus on this area as well," he said.

"These new restrictions on the autonomy of the state and the rights of Kashmiris could also embolden extremists and terrorists to act," Suozzi further stated in the letter.

However, realising that he could have framed his concerns in a different way had he consulted the Indian-American community, the Congressman issued a public apology on Monday.

"I am sorry. If I had met with them (people belonging to the Indian-American community in the US) before sending the letter, I would have framed my concerns differently," he said in the new statement.

"Throughout my career in public service, I have been an ardent supporter of India, their sovereignty, and have always stood with them in their fight against terrorism. The US-India relationship will be one of our most important over the next 50 years and beyond. I have spent my time in Congress promoting and elevating this relationship and will continue to do so," Suozzi said.

The Congressman, in his letter to Pompeo, had also pointed out human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir saying that the "Indian government's actions risk provoking mass social unrest, as the people of Kashmir have long sought greater autonomy, freedoms, and the opportunity for self-determination."

"These new restrictions on the autonomy of the state and the rights of Kashmiris could also embolden extremists and terrorists to act," he wrote.

However, Suozzi, on Monday in his apology statement stressed, "India, the world's largest democracy, remains critical for regional security and peace. The current situation in Kashmir presents some very serious challenges. The United States should seek to be helpful in securing safety and peace for all people."

"Moving forward, I will make sure to solicit the input of all of my constituents who have a vested interest in Kashmir and work towards a peaceful region that roots out terrorism and corruption as well as respects human rights. It is my hope, that recent developments in the region will eventually lead to this," he added.

Jammu and Kashmir have been recently witnessing heightened tensions in the wake of New Delhi's decision to scrap Article 370 that accorded special status the region and passage of a bill bifurcating them into two Union Territories, along with Ladakh, with effect from October 31. (ANI)

Have something to say? Post your comment
Must Read
Chidambaram commends Punjab Assembly for taking up resolution against CAA today
Chidambaram commends Punjab Assembly for taking up resolution against CAA today
DC inaugurates six ‘she boxes’ in city for prompt redressal of complaints regarding crime against women
DC inaugurates six ‘she boxes’ in city for prompt redressal of complaints regarding crime against women
ADC (D) launches booklet on completion of 50 years of soil & water conservation department
ADC (D) launches booklet on completion of 50 years of soil & water conservation department
Cabinet Ministers Tript Bajwa and Balbir Sidhu announces grant of Rs 5 lac & 2 lac respectively to Shaheed Udham Singh Memorial Bhawan Society
Cabinet Ministers Tript Bajwa and Balbir Sidhu announces grant of Rs 5 lac & 2 lac respectively to Shaheed Udham Singh Memorial Bhawan Society
Awareness leads to change in mindset towards girl child: Balbir Singh Sidhu
Awareness leads to change in mindset towards girl child: Balbir Singh Sidhu
Balbir Sidhu advocates fixing of medicines' prices on salt not brand
Balbir Sidhu advocates fixing of medicines' prices on salt not brand
Capt Amarinder reiterates demand for VGF from centre for Biomass Power & Solar Hybrid Power Projects
Capt Amarinder reiterates demand for VGF from centre for Biomass Power & Solar Hybrid Power Projects
Punjab govt under Capt Amarinder Singh goes in for sweeping legal reforms to deal with crime against women & children
Punjab govt under Capt Amarinder Singh goes in for sweeping legal reforms to deal with crime against women & children
Capt Amarinder led Punjab cabinet okays enactment of water resources management ordinance
Capt Amarinder led Punjab cabinet okays enactment of water resources management ordinance
District SAS Nagar police sensitized students and teachers about traffic rules and ill-effects of drugs & pollution
District SAS Nagar police sensitized students and teachers about traffic rules and ill-effects of drugs & pollution
Delhi assembly elections on Feb 8, Model Code of Conduct comes into force
Delhi assembly elections on Feb 8, Model Code of Conduct comes into force
Wishes pour in for Kapil Dev as cricketer turns 61
Wishes pour in for Kapil Dev as cricketer turns 61