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Trump’s offer to ‘mediate or arbitrate’ in the Kashmir dispute is a major departure from the US’s established stand that the matter was a bilateral one. Bloomberg
Trump’s offer to ‘mediate or arbitrate’ in the Kashmir dispute is a major departure from the US’s established stand that the matter was a bilateral one. Bloomberg

Donald Trump remark on J&K behind us, says Delhi

  • Trump had said PM Modi asked him if he would like to be a mediator in the Kashmir dispute
  • Foreign minister S. Jaishankar assured parliament that no such request was made by the PM

NEW DELHI : India has moved on from a controversy triggered by US President Donald Trump saying that New Delhi had asked him to mediate on the Kashmir issue with Pakistan, something the Indian foreign ministry and the US state department later denied, an official said on Thursday.

“I thought we had moved on and, frankly, I think we should move on," foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said.

“There was a statement made by external affairs minister (S. Jaishankar) in both houses of Parliament," he said in New Delhi at the weekly foreign office briefing, referring to the minister’s remarks on Tuesday. “We (the foreign ministry) made a statement and the state department has issued a clarification in this regard. I think we should just leave it at that and move on," Kumar said.

“It (India-US relationship) is an extremely important relationship. What I am trying to tell you is that our position in this matter has been explained....We have broad and deep convergences across a range of issues. It is a full service relationship. We have excellent trade and investment linkages. In the area of defence cooperation we are moving towards defence technology tie-ups. So, there are plenty of things on the table," Kumar said.

The controversy was triggered on Monday when Trump made a stunning offer to “mediate or arbitrate" in the Kashmir dispute in a major departure from the US’s established stand that the matter was a bilateral one.

“If I can help, I would love to be a mediator," Trump was quoted as saying as he sat down for talks with visiting Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan at the White House.

“I was with Prime Minister Narendra 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... 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 had said apparently referring to a meeting with Modi on the sidelines of the G20 meeting in Osaka, Japan.

In New Delhi, opposition parties slammed the government and demanded a statement from the prime minister in Parliament. In the wake of the uproar, Jaishankar on Tuesday assured Parliament that “no such request has been made by Prime Minister Modi".

“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," Jaishankar told Parliament.

The state department also clarified that the Kashmir dispute was a “bilateral" issue and that the US “welcomes" the two countries “sitting down" for talks. It also said Pakistan taking “sustained and irreversible" steps against terrorism is key to a successful dialogue with India, according to a PTI report.

“When I say it’s time to move on, I mean to say we have done our explanation, the state department, they have issued a clarification and now I think, its time for us to move on," Kumar said.

When asked for his reaction to Khan’s remarks that 30,000-40,000 “armed people" who fought in Afghanistan or Kashmir were still in his country, Kumar described it as a a “glaring admission by the Pakistani leadership" and added that it is time for Islamabad to take “credible" and “irreversible" action against terrorists.

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