MEA Refutes Trump’s Claims; Imran Welcomes US Mediation on Kashmir
Donald Trump claimed that PM Modi asked him to mediate on the Kashmir issue when they met for G-20 summit.
The Indian government, on Monday, 22 July, denied United States President Donald Trump's claim that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked him to mediate on the Kashmir issue with Pakistan.
However, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday said the contentious issue between the two South Asian neighbours can never be resolved bilaterally.
“There was one point when there was General (Pervez) Musharraf and Prime Minister (Atal Bihari) Vajpayee of India when we did get close to the resolution of the Kashmiri issue. But since then we are poles apart and I really feel that India should come on the table; US could play a big part. President Trump certainly can play a big part.”Imran Khan to Fox News
US President Donald Trump, during a media interaction with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, claimed on Monday that PM Modi had asked him to be a mediator in India-Pakistan talks on Kashmir.
WHAT US STATE DEPARTMENT SAID AFTER MEA’S DENIAL
To save face after MEA’s refusal, the US State Department came out with a statement saying that it was a "bilateral" issue between India and Pakistan, and the Trump administration "welcomes" the two countries "sitting down" for talks.
“We will continue to support efforts that reduce tensions and create an environment conducive for dialogue. This first and foremost means tackling the menace of terrorism. As the President indicated, we stand ready to assist.”US State Department
The statement added that the Trump administration believes that foundation for any successful dialogue between India and Pakistan is based on Pakistan taking sustained and irreversible steps against terrorists on its territory. It added that these actions are in line with PM Khan’s stated commitments and Pakistan’s international obligations.
WHAT INDIA SAID
The MEA said that it has been India's consistent position that all outstanding issues with Pakistan are discussed only bilaterally.
"We have seen @POTUS's remarks to the press that he is ready to mediate, if requested by India & Pakistan, on Kashmir issue. No such request has been made by PM @narendramodi to US President," Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Raveesh Kumar tweeted.
"It has been India's consistent position 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," he said.
WHAT DONALD TRUMP CLAIMED
Trump claimed that Modi and he discussed the issue of Kashmir in Osaka, Japan on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit last month, where the Indian prime minister made an offer of a third-party arbitration on Kashmir.
"I was with Prime Minister Modi two weeks ago and we talked about this subject (Kashmir). And he actually said, 'would you like to be a mediator or arbitrator?' I said, 'where?' (Modi said) 'Kashmir'," Trump said as he held talks with Khan for the first time since the latter came to power in August, 2018.
"Because this has been going on for many, many years. I am surprised that how long. It has been going on (for long)," he said, with Khan responding 70 years.
“I think they (Indians) would like to see it resolved. I think you would like to see it resolved. And if I can help, I would love to be a mediator. It should be....we have two incredible countries that are very, very smart with very smart leadership, (and they) can’t solve a problem like that. But if you would want me to mediate or arbitrate, I would be willing to do that.”US President Donald Trump
"So all those issues should be resolved. So, he (Modi) has to ask me the same thing. So maybe we'll speak to him. Or I'll speak to him and we'll see if we can do something," Trump said.
"We have a very good relationship with India. I know that your relationship (with India) is strained a little bit, maybe a lot. But we will be talking about India… (it's) a big part of our conversation today and I think maybe we can help intercede and do whatever we have to do. It's something that can be brought back together. We will be talking about India and Afghanistan both," Trump told Khan.
WHAT IMRAN KHAN SAID
Khan, who was sitting by Trump's side in the Oval Office of the White House, said that he is ready and welcomed such a move by the US.
"Right now, you would have the prayers of over a billion people if you can mediate (on Kashmir)," Khan told Trump.
"From my point, I can tell you we have tried our best. We made all overtures to India to start dialogue, resolve our differences through dialogue, but unfortunately we haven't made headways as yet. But I'm hoping that President Trump would push this process," Khan said, adding he feels that "only the most powerful state, headed by President Trump, can bring the two countries together."
India has not been engaging with Pakistan since an attack on the Air Force base at Pathankot in January of 2016 by Pakistan-based terrorists, maintaining that talks and terror cannot go together.
US Congressman Backs India, Says Trump Delusional and Embarrassing
Brad Sherman, a US Congressman reacted to Trump’s claims, saying that everyone knowing foreign policy in South Asia will know that India consistently opposes third-party mediation in Kashmir.
“Everyone knows PM Modi would never suggest such a thing. Trump’s statement is amateurish and delusional and embarrassing.”Brad Sherman, US Congressman
Sherman further said that he has apologised to Indian Ambassador Harsh V Shringla for the US President’s mistake.
WHAT EXPERTS HAD TO SAY
(With inputs from PTI, ANI and The Associated Press.)
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