NEW DELHI: In a sign that Indian diplomacy is blunting Pakistan’s efforts to internationalize the Kashmir dispute, India’s ambassador to Washington Harsh Vardhan Shringla has said that US President Donald Trump’s offer to mediate between India and Pakistan is no longer on the table.
Shringla also said that Trump’s offer of mediation was dependent on both India and Pakistan accepting it and India had rejected the offer saying that the matter would be settled bilaterally, according to a PTI report from Washington overnight Tuesday.
“President Trump has made it very clear that his offer to mediate on Jammu and Kashmir is dependent on both India and Pakistan accepting it. Since India has not accepted the offer of mediation, he (President Trump) has made it clear that this is not on the table anymore," Shringla said in an interview to a US-based news broadcaster Fox News.
On 22 July, Trump sprang a surprise when he said that he would like to mediate between India and Pakistan, and that his offer was based on a request from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Trump’s comments came in the presence of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan who was on a visit to the US. Trump’s offer stunned India given Washington’s decades-old policy has been to encourage India and Pakistan to resolve differences bilaterally. New Delhi insisted that Modi had made no such request and that all issues including the Kashmir dispute would be sorted out bilaterally. A few days later, Trump toned down his initial offer of talks stating instead that he would “certainly intervene" between India and Pakistan on Kashmir if both countries wanted him to. Trump added that it was up to India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue but he stood ready to assist if the two South Asian neighbours wanted his help. This came after New Delhi lodged a protest with Washington.
In a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on 2 August in Bangkok, on the sidelines of a South-East Asian foreign ministers’ meet, India’s foreign minister S. Jaishankar said any discussion on Kashmir would take place only between India and Pakistan.