US President Donald Trump recently sent the Ministry of External Affairs into overdrive by suggesting that PM Narendra Modi had asked for America’s help in resolving the age-old Kashmir conflict with Pakistan. With that startling statement by Trump grabbing headlines, the terms “bilateral resolution of conflict”, Lahore Declaration and Simla Agreement have come into focus.
India took no time to declare that PM Modi had not made any such request at any meeting with Trump, having long maintained the diplomatic position that the issue should be resolved bilaterally. The US State Department also issued a statement saying that it was a “bilateral” issue between India and Pakistan, and that they “welcomed” the two countries “sitting down” for talks.
But chatter arose about how the Kashmir issue with Pakistan was a bilateral one, which was only to be sorted out by the two countries sitting down together, without third-party intervention, according to the terms of the Lahore Declaration and the Simla Agreement. Critics of PM Modi also said that if he had in fact made such a request to the US President, he had broken the terms of these two pacts.
So what exactly are these pacts and why are they important?