Donald Trump repeats Jammu and Kashmir offer, S Jaishankar says any talk only with Pakistan

By: |
August 03, 2019 1:52 AM

Hours after US President Donald Trump said he would “certainly intervene” on the Kashmir issue if New Delhi and Islamabad wanted him to, India, for the second time in less than two weeks, rejected any mediation on Jammu and Kashmir.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar (File Photo)

Hours after US President Donald Trump said he would “certainly intervene” on the Kashmir issue if New Delhi and Islamabad wanted him to, India, for the second time in less than two weeks, rejected any mediation on Jammu and Kashmir.

India’s firm but polite rejection came when External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, after meeting US Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo in Bangkok, said that “any discussion on Kashmir, if at all warranted, will only be with Pakistan and only bilaterally”. The two ministers met on the sidelines of the 9th East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers meeting.

On July 22, in remarks that were quickly denied, Trump, in the presence of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, had said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked him to play the role of mediator on Kashmir, and “if I can help, I would love to be the mediator” between India and Pakistan.

Jaishankar, who played a key role in India’s denial of Trump’s claim, tweeted: “Held wide ranging discussions with @SecPompeo on regional issues. Have conveyed to American counterpart @SecPompeo this morning in clear terms that any discussion on Kashmir, if at all warranted, will only be with Pakistan and only bilaterally.”

While there was no official readout of the Jaishankar-Pompeo bilateral meeting from the MEA, US State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus did not mention anything on Kashmir. She said, “Secretary Michael R Pompeo met in Bangkok, Thailand with Indian Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar on August 2. The two discussed our shared commitment to upholding the rule of law, freedom of navigation, and democratic values in the Indo-Pacific region. The Secretary reaffirmed the positive trajectory of the US-India strategic partnership.”

Sources said that Jaishankar Friday took the opportunity to reject any notion of mediation once again, since Trump had —just hours earlier — said that it was up to India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue but he was ready to assist if the two countries wanted him to help.

Last week, the MEA had sought to downplay Trump’s remark on Kashmir mediation, and had said that Delhi would like to “move on”, since both sides have clarified their positions.

Asked how would he “want to resolve the Kashmir issue”, Trump said in Washington early Friday, “If I can, if they wanted me to, I would certainly intervene…It’s really up to Prime Minister Modi (to accept the offer of mediation),” Trump told reporters while responding to a question on India not accepting his offer of mediation, adding “Have they accepted the offer or not?”.

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