New Delhi: Back from his visit to Jammu and
Kashmir, US senator John McCain on Thursday said he was "encouraged"
to see the improvement in the security situation in the state,
reflected in increased business and tourism.
Influential Senator from Arizona and 2008 Republican
presidential candidate, McCain said, "I am encouraged from
what I saw in Kashmir, the sense of security returning to one
of the most exquisite beautiful places on Earth", while
pointing out that locals were living more normal lives and
there was better handling of issues by the authorities.
Hoping that economic progress will continue to grow
stronger, he told a press conference here that there was
improvement in situation but there will be continued tensions
as long as the issue remains of significant importance to both
countries (India and Pakistan).
He also maintained that "Kashmir is an internal matter"
and it was not America or any other nation`s place to comment
on sovereign affairs of a country.
During his two-day visit McCain held discussions with J-K
Governor N N Vohra and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on various
issues of mutual interest.
Asked if he discussed Kashmir during his meeting with
Pakistan Army Chief Gen Pervez Kayani, the US Senator said the
focus was on ties between America and Pakistan but noted that
there have been incursions in the Kashmir by certain
individuals who are committed to create trouble there.
He also talked about the increasing realisation among
Americans, including senior representatives, on the "troubled
connections" between Pakistan military and terrorist groups
such as Haqqani network and LeT.