India welcomes US blacklisting Kashmiri militant group

New Delhi (AFP) - India on Friday welcomed the United States' blacklisting of Kashmiri separatist group Hizbul Mujahideen as a terrorist organisation.

The US Treasury Department, in a statement on its website Wednesday, said it listed the Pakistan-based outfit as a "foreign terrorist organisation", freezing its assets "to deny Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) the resources it needs to carry out terrorist attacks".

"We welcome the designation of the Hizbul Mujahideen as a terrorist organisation," Raveesh Kumar, India's foreign ministry spokesman, told reporters.

"All of us are aware of what kind of terrorist activities they have conducted in the state of Jammu and Kashmir," he said, adding it was key to "end moral, diplomatic and material support" to such groups.

Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since the end of British colonial rule in 1947 and both claim the territory in its entirety.

Homegrown rebel groups, including the HM, have been fighting around half a million Indian troops deployed in the region, calling for independence or a merger with Pakistan since an armed rebellion broke-out in 1989.

Anti-India sentiment runs deep in the predominantly Muslim Kashmir valley, one of the world's most heavily militarised areas, where most people favour independence or a merger with Pakistan.

Islamabad expressed disappointment over Washington's move, calling it "unjustified".

The blacklisting came after the US State Department designated HM's commander Syed Salahuddin as a "global terrorist" in June, saying under his rule it committed numerous attacks including one in 2014 in Indian-administered Kashmir which left 17 injured.

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