Jammu and Kashmir elections show return to normalcy: Mulford

January 9th, 2009 - 7:13 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 9 (IANS) The US Friday welcomed the recent elections in Jammu and Kashmir saying that the turnout of voters in large numbers showed “a return to normalcy with peace and the assurance of increased security”.“I was especially impressed by the election process and its outcome in Jammu and Kashmir. Voters turned out in record numbers,” US Ambassador David Mulford said here at a farewell function organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

“They voted in a free and fair election for better governance and managing their own destiny,” said the envoy, whose tenure starting January 2004 saw a dramatic transformation in India-US ties, underscored by the clinching of a landmark nuclear deal last year.

“This surely includes a return to normalcy with peace and the assurance of increased security,” said Mulford.

Mulford, a political appointee of the Bush administration, was set to leave India next week before the swearing-in of US President-elect Barack Obama. However, the US embassy Friday announced that his departure has been extended for a few weeks at the request of the incoming administration.

Mulford’s positive remarks on Kashmir come amid speculation about Obama appointing a special envoy for the region, a move that may see Washington playing a more proactive role in resolving the Kashmir issue between India and Pakistan.

India has, however, made it clear that Kashmir is a bilateral issue that does not require the intervention of any third party.

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