New Delhi | Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar has assured the Upper House that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not requested Donald Trump to mediate on the Kashmir issue.
Clarifying in the Rajya Sabha, S Jaishankar said, “I would like to categorically assure the House that no such request has been made by PM Modi”.
“The Shimla Agreement & the Lahore declaration provide the basis to resolve all issues between India & Pakistan bilaterally”, he added.
“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 said.
On Monday, Trump stunned India by saying that Prime Minister Modi, during the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, sought his help in resolving the Kashmir issue.
“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 during his talks with Khan, their first since the latter came to power in August 2018.
“Because this has been going on for many, many years. I am surprised at how long it has been going on (for long),” he said, with Khan responding 70 years.
“I think they (Indians) would like to see it resolved. I think you would like to see it resolved. And if I can help, I would love to be a mediator. It should be….we have two incredible countries that are very, very smart with very smart leadership, (and they) can’t solve a problem like that. But if you would want me to mediate or arbitrate, I would be willing to do that,” Trump said.
“So all those issues should be resolved. So, he (Modi) has to ask me the same thing. So maybe we’ll speak to him. Or I’ll speak to him and we’ll see if we can do something,” Trump said.
Khan welcomed these remarks. “President, I can tell you that, right now, you would have the prayers of over a billion people if you can mediate and resolve this issue,” he said.
In New Delhi, the Ministry of External Affairs was quick to deny that Modi ever asked for a mediation on Kashmir.
“We have seen President Trump’s remarks to the press that he is ready to mediate if requested by India and Pakistan, on the Kashmir issue. No such request has been made by Prime Minister to the US President,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.
“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 Simla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration provide the basis to resolve all issues between India and Pakistan bilaterally,” Kumar said.