Trump claims Modi asked for mediation on Kashmir-issue, India denies
Hours after the United States President Donald Trump made a tall claim that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has "requested" him to "mediate" on Kashmir dispute, India refuted it. In a late-night tweet on Monday, Raveesh Kumar, spokesperson of Ministry of External Affairs, said PM Modi has not made any such request with Trump. Kumar maintained all India-Pakistan issues will be solved bilaterally. Here's more.
Trump made the comments in a joint press briefing with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is on his maiden trip to the US after being elected to office last year. He said he was with PM Modi two weeks ago when the latter urged him to be a "mediator or arbitrator". "I said 'Where', He said 'Kashmir'," added Trump.
"Because this has been going on for many, many years... I think they would like to see it resolved and you (Imran Khan) would like to see it resolved. If I can help, I would love to be a mediator," Trump went on.
On Trump's statements, Khan responded that "prayers of over a billion people will be with you if you can mediate and resolve the situation". While Pakistan has regularly sought help from third parties (including the United Nations) in solving the dispute, India is against it. In fact, the US had also supported India's stand that New Delhi and Islamabad should solve the matter.
Giving a sharp rebuttal to Trump's claims, Kumar said India has not moved from its stand that all outstanding issues with Pakistan will be discussed bilaterally. "Any engagement with Pakistan would require an end to cross border terrorism. The Shimla Agreement & the Lahore Declaration provide the basis to resolve all issues between India & Pakistan bilaterally, (sic)" Kumar's tweet read.
...that all outstanding issues with Pakistan are discussed only bilaterally. Any engagement with Pakistan would require an end to cross border terrorism. The Shimla Agreement the Lahore Declaration provide the basis to resolve all issues between India Pakistan bilaterally.2/2— Raveesh Kumar (@MEAIndia) July 22, 2019
To recall, relations between India and Pakistan nosedived after 2016 Uri attack and further worsened after February's Pulwama attack. New Delhi has repeatedly said it won't talk with Islamabad unless Pakistan does something about cross-border terrorism. Terrorism flourishing on its soil has also cornered Pakistan on the global stage and the country is at risk of getting blacklisted by terror-financing watchdog FATF.
As Trump's remarks surfaced, political circles in India went abuzz. Congress leader Shashi Tharoor tweeted, "I honestly don't think Trump has the slightest idea of what he's talking about. He has either not been briefed or not understood what Modi was saying or what India's position is on 3rd-party mediation." Separately, Randeep Singh Surjewala said PM Modi "betrayed" India by asking Trump to mediate.
India has never accepted third party mediation in Jammu Kashmir!— Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) July 22, 2019
To ask a foreign power to mediate in JK by PM Modi is a sacrilegious betrayal of country’s interests.
Let PM answer to the Nation!https://t.co/17wRVtRSMD
Personally I think @realDonaldTrump is talking out of his hat when he says @PMOIndia asked for US involvement in solving the Kashmir issue but I’d like to see @MEAIndia call Trump out on his claim. https://t.co/JRlH4mehrp— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) July 22, 2019
Interestingly, after Trump commented on the Kashmir issue, the US State Department said, "While Kashmir is a bilateral issue for both parties to discuss, the Trump administration welcomes Pakistan and India sitting down and the United States stands ready to assist."