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World

Web Desk
December 5, 2019

King Gustaf wants Swedish observers in Kashmir as he visits India

World

Web Desk
Thu, Dec 05, 2019
Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia interact with volunteers during a clean up drive on a beach in Mumbai. Photo: Reuters 

NEW DELHI: Sweden has asked India to lift curfew and restore all modes of communications in occupied Kashmir which have been imposed in the valley since August.

King Carl Gustaf of Sweden on Wednesday said his country had been acting as an observer in the occupied valley for the past several years and would continue to do so.

The king made the remarks while speaking to a group of journalists in the Indian city of Mumbai. The statement came in response to questions about Sweden acting as a mediator to resolve the decades-long issue.

The illegal annexation of occupied Kashmir by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had set off tensions with Pakistan, with the two nuclear-armed countries still at loggerheads over the issue.

The comments by the king follow similar remarks made by Swedish foreign ministry on the eve of the king’s visit to India, calling for the lifting of curfew and the restoration of communications.

“We can say we have people from Sweden, trying to be observers in these areas in Kashmir for many many years. In that sense, we are trying to be an observer if possible,” King Gustaf said.

The king also noted that the mandate of United Nations Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), of which Sweden was a part, was too constrained for an in-depth analysis of the situation.

The Swedish king and his wife are on a five-day visit to India. The couple met Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Governor BS Koshyari earlier in the day.