Saturday, December 07, 2019

Posted at: Jul 23, 2019, 7:22 AM; last updated: Jul 23, 2019, 10:46 AM (IST)

India rejects Trump claims that PM Modi wanted him to mediate

India rejects Trump claims that PM Modi wanted him to mediate
Pakistani PM Imran Khan (L) speaks during a meeting with US President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, DC, on July 22, 2019. AFP

Sandeep Dikshit

Tribune News Service

New Delhli, July 22

Hours after US President Donald Trump kicked up a political storm by claiming that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked him to mediate on Kashmir, the Indian government rejected the claims stating `It was India’s consistent position that all outstanding issues with Pakistan were discussed bilaterally’.

Trump made the comments while interacting with the press along with visiting Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan at the White House. Praising Pakistan as “smart, tough and great” and hoping it “will be a great help” in bringing peace in Afghanistan, Trump dropped a bombshell when he said PM Modi had sought his help on the disputed Kashmir region and that he would love to be a mediator.

Trump’s statement goes against India’s decade-old policy of not seeking third-party mediation on Kashmir. While Kashmiri separatists led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani welcomed his statement, Opposition leaders RS Surjewala (Cong), former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and CPI (M) general secretary sought a clarification from the government. 

As India had never accepted mediation on Kashmir, “to ask a foreign power to mediate in J-K by PM Modi is a sacrilegious betrayal of the country’s interests,” Surjewala tweeted. Former MoS External Affairs and MP Shashi Tharoor said he didn’t think Trump knew what he was talking about. Sitaram Yechury, CPM, asked the “twitter-friendly” PM to rebut the US President. 

The Indian government, however, denied that any such request has been made. ``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 and Lahore Declaration provide the basis to resolve all issues,’’ said the MEA spokesman, Ravish Kumar.

India’s reaction thus not only rejects Trump’s offer to mediate but also closes the door on talks with Pakistan unless and until it decisively turns off the tap on cross border terrorism.


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