New Delhi/Washington: US President Donald Trump on Monday virtually opened a can of worms vis-a-vis the relations between two countries by stating that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked him to ‘mediate’ between India and Pakistan on Kashmir.
The Ministry of External Affairs in Delhi quickly denied Trump’s claim and even a senior opposition leader Shashi Tharoor of Congress party has said that the US President perhaps did not have “the slightest idea of what he is talking about”.
“We have seen @POTUS’s remarks to the press that he is ready to mediate, if requested by India & Pakistan, on Kashmir issue. No such request has been made by PM Narendra Modi to US President,” MEA spokesman Raveesh Kumar tweeted.
During interaction with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan at White House, President Trump said: “….Because I have heard so much about Kashmir. It is such a beautiful name. Supposed to be such a beautiful part of the world, but right now there are just bombs all over the place. There is a terrible situation going for many years. If I can do anything, let me know”.
President Trump’s remarks sparked off a major row with Congress party’s media in charge Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeting – “To ask a foreign power to mediate in J&K by PM Modi is a sacrilegious betrayal of country’s interests. Let PM answer to the Nation”.
“I met Indian PM Modi two weeks ago.. he asked me, do you want to be mediator, arbitrator.. .I asked where? He said Kashmir,” Trump is heard saying in a video that has gone viral.
MEA spokesman Raveesh Kumar also wrote on the micro blogging site: “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”.
He also said: “The Shimla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration provide the basis to resolve all issues between India & Pakistan bilaterally”.
The Shimla Agreement between Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and her Pakistani counterpart was inked on July 2, 1972 while Lahore Declaration was signed when Atal Bihari Vajpayee had made the famous bus journey to Lahore during the stint of Pak PM Nawaz Sharif on February 21, 1999.
“I was with Prime Minister Modi two weeks ago and we talked about this subject (Kashmir). And he actually said, ‘would you like to be a mediator or arbitrator?’ I said, ‘where?’ (Modi said) ‘Kashmir’,” Trump said referring to his interactions with Prime Minister Modi at Osaka in Japan last month.
Cricketer-turned-Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan met President Trump in Washington for the first time since he assumed power in August, 2018.
“…..all those issues should be resolved. So, he (Modi) has to ask me the same thing. So maybe we will speak to him. Or I will speak to him and we will see if we can do something,” Trump said.
During interaction Imran Khan, who was sitting by President Trump’s side in the White House, said “Right now, you would have the prayers of over a billion people if you can mediate (on Kashmir),” Khan told Trump.