Donald Trump says will meet PM Modi, Imran Khan soon

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Washington | Updated: September 17, 2019 11:00:04 AM

US President Donald Trump on Monday said he will be meeting the prime ministers of India and Pakistan soon, even as he maintained that tension between the two Asian countries had reduced.

Trump will address Indian-Americans, along with PM Modi, at the “Howdy Modi!” event in Houston on September 22

US President Donald Trump has said he will soon meet the prime ministers of India and Pakistan, even as he insisted that a lot of progress has been made in reducing tension between the two neighbours. While Trump along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address more than 50,000 Indian-Americans at the “Howdy Modi!” mega event in Houston on September 22, the American president did not say when or where will he be meeting Pakistan premier Imran Khan. “I’ll see Prime Minister Modi and I will — we’ll — be meeting with (prime ministers of) India and Pakistan,” Trump told reporters in response to a question at the White House on Monday.

According to Trump’s schedule, he could meet the Pakistani prime minister on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly Session in New York later this month. After addressing Indian-Americans at the “Howdy Modi!” event, Trump will travel to Ohio and then is expected to fly to New York to attend the annual UN General Assembly session. Without mentioning Kashmir, Trump said a “lot of progress has been made in reducing tension” between India and Pakistan.

Tension between India and Pakistan escalated after New Delhi revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5. Reacting to India’s move on Kashmir, Pakistan downgraded diplomatic ties with New Delhi and expelled the Indian High Commissioner. Asserting that abrogation of Article 370 was its internal matter, India has strongly criticised Pakistan for making “irresponsible statements” and provocative anti-India rhetoric over issues internal to it.

The “Howdy, Modi!” event would the first time when an American president addresses thousands of Indian-Americans at one place in the US. It comes ahead of the 2020 presidential elections in the US in which the influential Indian-American community members are expected to play a greater role.

President Trump, a Republican, has already announced his candidature. India’s Ambassador to the US, Harsh Vardhan Shringla has called Trump’s participation in the “Howdy, Modi!” event “historic” and “unprecedented”. “It is reflective of the strong bonds of friendship and cooperation that has developed between India and the US,” Shringla said. During his meeting with Modi in France last month, Trump had said Kashmir is an issue that needs to be resolved between India and Pakistan.

“All the issues between India and Pakistan are of bilateral in nature, and we don’t want to trouble any third country. We can discuss and resolve these issues bilaterally,” Modi said. He said India and Pakistan were together before 1947 and he was confident that the two neighbours can discuss their problems and solve them. Modi during the meeting had categorically rejected any scope for third party mediation on Kashmir, saying it was a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan.

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