India condemns Omar’s ‘narrow minded’ politics, visit to Kashmir
India has condemned a recent visit by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) to Kashmir, an area that has been the subject of dispute and, at times, violent conflict between India and Pakistan for years.
In a strongly worded statement, India’s Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi took aim at what he called Omar’s “narrow minded politics” and called her visit “condemnable.”
He said at a press briefing Thursday, “We have noted that US Representative Ilhan Omar has visited a part of the Indian Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir that is currently 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 and sovereignty in its pursuit makes it ours. This visit is condemnable.”
While on a visit to Pakistan-administered portion of Kashmir, Omar met with the president of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Sultan Mahmood Chaudhry.
Omar also met Pakistan’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar, who said in a statement that she “appreciated the strong voice that Congresswoman Ilhan has raised against Indian atrocities in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu Kashmir and for the people of Palestine.”
Khar added that “in today’s environment, it was important to stand up for universal values and human rights and let that not be clouded by geo-political interests.”
According to Pakistani newspaper Tribune, Omar spoke about Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government’s anti-Muslim policies.
“I don’t believe that it is being talked about to the extent it needs to be in Congress and within the administration,” Omar said. The outlet noted that she hoped her visit to Kashmir motivates more conversations.
She added that she hoped to learn about the situation in Kashmir and the dispute between the two countries.
Her office did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment.
The Minnesota Democrat’s visit to Kashmir came a day after she met with Pakistani leaders in Islamabad, including President Arif Alvi and newly appointed Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
She also met with recently ousted Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan who alleged that Donald Lu, assistant secretary for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs at the Department of State, was involved in the “foreign conspiracy” to topple his government.
The State Department has denied these allegations.
Omar has been a vocal critic of Modi and has previously questioned Biden administration officials over what she said was their failure to criticize the his government on the issue of human rights and its actions against its Muslim minorities in India.
India and Pakistan have been embroiled in a decades-long dispute over the region since the partition of 1947. Four wars have been fought between India and Pakistan, the latest in 1999.