New Delhi: Hours after US President Donald Trump raked up Kashmir mediation again, saying he would “certainly intervene if they want me to”, India told the US that any discussion on Kashmir would “only be with Pakistan and only bilaterally”
Foreign Minister S Jaishankar tweeted on Friday that he had conveyed this to his US counterpart Mike Pompeo at their meeting in Bangkok. “Have conveyed to American counterpart @SecPompeo this morning in clear terms that any discussion on Kashmir, if at all warranted, will only be with Pakistan and only bilaterally,” Jaishankar wrote. The two met on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting.
On Thursday, President Trump said it was up to India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue but he was ready to assist.
He was referring to his meeting last week with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, when he controversially claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked him to mediate on Kashmir. India immediately rejected that claim and the “mediation” offer, emphasising that there can’t be any third party intervention on Kashmir.
“It is really up to Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi,” Trump told reporters, asked about India not accepting his offer of mediation. “Have they accepted the offer or not,” the American President shot back at reporters.
Earlier also Trump made the stunning claim on PM Modi at his joint media appearance with Imran Khan at the Oval Office. “I was with Prime Minister Modi two weeks ago, and we talked about the subject. And he actually said, ‘would you like to be a mediator, or arbitrator’, and I said ‘where?’, and he said ‘Kashmir’, because this has been going on for many, many years,” said the US President.
The Indian government repeatedly stressed in parliament, amid opposition demands for an explanation from PM Modi, that India’s stand remained what it had always been.
“I would like to categorically assure… that no such request has been made by the Prime Minister to the US President. I repeat, no such request was made by the Prime Minister to the US President,” Jaishankar had said in both house of parliament.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had added: “We cannot compromise with India’s self-respect.”