Congress asks PM Modi to explain Donald Trump’s Kashmir mediation claim despite MEA clarification

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Updated: July 23, 2019 11:07:55 AM

On Monday, US President Donald Trump offered to act as the mediator between India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue as he met Prime Minister Imran Khan in Washington DC. He even claimed that PM Modi had asked him to mediate between the two nations on the matter.

New Delhi has denied Donald Trump’s claim that PM Modi had asked him to mediate in resolving the Kashmir issue. (File Photo/PTI)

The Congress party has demanded a clarification from Prime Minister Narendra Modi over US President Donald Trump’s claims that the Indian PM had asked him to mediate between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue. Senior Congress leader Manish Tewari termed it a serious issue and demanded a clarification from PM Modi on the matter in Parliament.

“The President of United States of America Donald Trump with Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan standing next to him has publicly recounted at great length a conversation Narendra Modi had with him in Osaka to mediate on Kashmir. Even by Trump’s Post truth standards this is a very serious claim to make wherein he has either invented a conversation or stated what actually transpired between the two. A response by a Joint Secy level officer won’t do. PM must clarify in both houses today whether he asked Trump to mediate on Kashmir or not?” he tweeted.

Also Read: US lawmakers support India’s stand on Kashmir, one of them apologises for Trump remarks

Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala asked whether there has been a shift in India’s position on third party involvement in the matter. “Reiteration of time tested line on ‘no mediation on Kashmir’ is welcome. The US President remarks relate to a meeting between him & PM Modi, wherein our PM had asked him to mediate. Why is PM ‘mum’ on what transpired between the two heads of states, more so when it affects our sovereignty?” he asked.

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said that Trump appeared to be clueless on the matter and had no idea what he was talking about. “I honestly don’t think Trump has the slightest idea of what he’s talking about. He has either not been briefed or not understood what Modi was saying or what India’s position is on third party mediation. That said, MEA should clarify that Delhi has never sought his intercession,” he tweeted.

On Monday, US President Donald Trump offered to act as the mediator between India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue as he met Prime Minister Imran Khan in Washington DC. He even claimed that PM Modi had asked him to mediate between the two nations on the matter. “I was with Prime Minister Narendra Modi two weeks ago and we talked about this subject and he actually said ‘Would you like to be a mediator or arbitrator’, I said ‘Where’, He said ‘Kashmir’. Because this has been going on for many, many years… I think they would like to see it resolved and you (Imran Khan) would like to see it resolved. If I can help, I would love to be a mediator,” Trump said, referring to a meeting with PM Modi on the sidelines of the G20 meeting in Osaka, Japan.

However, New Delhi denied Trump’s claim that PM Modi had asked him to mediate in resolving the Kashmir issue. External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that no such request has been made by PM Modi to Trump. “We have seen Donald Trump’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,” he tweeted.

However, the US government appeared to be making attempts to control the damage after India categorical denial of Trump’s claims with the US Department of State issuing a statement saying, Kashmir was a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan and the US welcomes the two countries sitting down for talks.

“While Kashmir is a bilateral issue for both parties to discuss,the Trump administration welcomes Pakistan and India sitting down and the United States stands ready to assist. We believe foundation for any successful dialogue between India and Pakistan is based on Pakistan taking sustained and irreversible steps against terrorists on its territory. These actions are in line with PM Khan’s stated commitments and Pakistan’s international obligations. We will continue to support efforts that reduce tensions and create an environment conducive for dialogue. This first and foremost means tackling the menace of terrorism. As the President indicated, we stand ready to assist,” it said in a statement.

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