In a sharp rebuttal to U.S. President Donald Trump’s comments, the government denied that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had requested Mr. Trump to mediate between India and Pakistan.
“We have seen [Mr. Trump’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 Narendra Modi to US President,” said MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar.
According to Mr. Trump, the request had been made by Mr. Modi during their meeting in Osaka on the sidelines of the G-20 summit two weeks ago.
Asserting India’s traditional stand rejecting any third party mediation on the Kashmir issue, Mr. Kumar said that “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,” referring to the agreements between India and Pakistan to resolve issues between them, as they did in the Shimla agreement of 1972 and the Lahore declaration of 1999.
“I was with Prime Minister Modi two weeks ago and we talked about this subject and he actually said ‘Would you like to be a mediator or arbitrator’, I said ‘Where’, He said ‘Kashmir’. Because this has been going on for many, many years,” Mr. Trump said at the White House, where he was hosting Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan.
“If I can help, I would love to be a mediator. If I can do anything to help, let me know,” he added.
“I think they (Indians) would like to see it resolved. I think you (Khan) 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,” Mr. 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,” Mr. Trump futher told Mr. Khan.
Mr. Khan welcomed Mr. Trump’s remarks and said if the U.S. agreed, prayers of more than a billion people will be with him.