Several positive changes in JK reflect return to complete normalcy: MEA

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Several positive changes have taken place in terms of development in Jammu and Kashmir in the last one year which reflect return to “complete normalcy”, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Thursday.

The assertion came after the Chairman and Ranking Member of the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs in a letter to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar expressed concern over the situation in Jammu and Kashmir one year after Article 370 was abrogated and the state was bifurcated into Union territories.

Asked about the reference to Jammu and Kashmir in the letter, MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said, “Regarding the specific issue, there have been several positive changes in the UT of J and K over the past one year, be it in terms of ensuring good governance or socio economic development or justice to the disadvantaged sections of the population.”

Elections have been held to block development councils in October 2019, the first ever ‘Khelo India’ winter games were held in March 2020, schools have re-opened, new educational facilities are being established, there are provisions of better healthcare with new health facilities coming up, infrastructure development has taken place and long pending projects have been completed, he said, listing the positive developments in Jammu and Kashmir in the past one year.

“So, all this certainly reflects return to complete normalcy. We continue to be engaged with and brief our interlocutors including the (US) Congress in this regard and we will be happy to brief the (US) Congress,” Srivastava said at an online media briefing.

The letter, signed by Eliot Engel, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Michael T McCaul, its Ranking Member, said, “As champions of the US-India relationship, we have been delighted to see our countries’ close cooperation on issues from defense to climate change.” Engel further writes, “It is because of our support for the bilateral relationship that we note with concern that conditions in Jammu and Kashmir have not normalised one year after India’s repeal of Article 370 and the establishment of Jammu and Kashmir as a Union Territory.”