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Posted at: Jul 23, 2019, 12:14 PM; last updated: Jul 24, 2019, 6:42 AM (IST)

No such request made by PM Modi: Jaishankar on Donald Trump’s claim

No such request made by PM Modi: Jaishankar on Donald Trump’s claim
S Jaishankar. Photo: LSTV file

Ravi S Singh & Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, July 23

The government on Tuesday rebutted a claim of US President Donald Trump which said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked him to mediate between India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar made separate statements in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha saying, “No such request was made by the PM to the US President.”

In both Houses, the statements by the opposition were made with a declared intent that nothing said in the House harmed India’s relations with other countries.

Jaishankar, who was Foreign Secretary in the first term of Modi (2014-19), before he was made a minister in the present term, added that India’s position is that all issues with Pakistan had to be discussed bilaterally. “Any engagement with Pakistan will be subject to it ending cross-border terrorism,” he said.

Jaishankar explained that Simla Agreement (1972) and the Lahore Declaration (2005) remained the only basis to discuss matters with Pakistan.

Jaishankar spoke after the entire opposition led by the Congress wanted the PM to reply on the matter.  The opposition walked out in protest saying they would want the PM to clarify.

In the Lok Sabha, Manish Tewari, MP from Anandpur Sahib, said, “Modi should come on record and say that Trump was lying. Modi must clarify if he and Trump spoke on the subject.”

The PM needed to clarify what did the two (Modi-Trump) speak on in Osaka (during the G-20 meet some two weeks ago), he said.

Saugata Roy of the Trinamool Congress said the statement of Trump was a violation of our policy to deal with Pakistan bilaterally.

The Rajya Sabha was adjourned till 2 pm following protests from opposition members who pressed for a personal appearance of the Prime Minister to clarify on US President Donald Trump’s statement.

Anand Sharma of the Congress said the entire country was shocked to hear that Modi had requested Trump to mediate on Kashmir. “Since it has been stated by the President of the most powerful nation regarding third-party mediation on Kashmir, the matter assumes significance. It has consequences,” said Sharma who has been External Affairs Minister. He said Modi must appreciate the decorum of the House and sensitivity of the development to give clarification personally.

D Raja of the CPI, speaking in Rajya Sabha said that in the light of the apparent shift in India’s consistent stand, Trump’s statement assumed significance. Issuance of denial by the MEA would not suffice and Modi must clarify the issue in the House, he added.

Making an intervention, Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu urged the members to speak in one voice as the issue concerned the unity, integrity and security of the country.

With the members expressing doubts even after the Foreign Minister’s clarification, Naidu told them that they should believe the government.

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