July 2019 News

India Rejects US President Trump's Comment On Modi Seeking Mediation On Kashmir

22 July 2019
India Today
Geeta Mohan

New Delhi: India on Tuesday outrightly rejected the comments made by US President Donald Trump during his meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in New York. When the Pakistan prime minister raised the issue of Kashmir at the White House, Trump alleged that Prime Minister Modi had sought his help in 'mediating' between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue during their meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka. 'So, I was with Prime Minister Modi two weeks ago and we talked about this [Kashmir] subject and he actually said, 'Would you like to be a mediator or arbitrator? I said, 'where?' He said Kashmir...If I could help, I would love to be a mediator,' Trump said. 'It is impossible to believe that two incredible countries that are very, very smart with very smart leadership can't solve a problem. But, if you would want me to mediate or arbitrate, I would be willing to do,' Trump told reporters before the two leaders went in for the bilateral meeting. The news came as a shock to India since there has been no shift in India's Kashmir policy. While there were many reactions that poured in, most believed that the US president might have got it wrong. Former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Omar Abdullah, was one of the first to react. In a tweet, he wrote, 'Personally I think @realDonaldTrump is talking out of his hat when he says @PMOIndia asked for US involvement in solving the Kashmir issue but I'd like to see @MEAIndia call Trump out on his claim.' Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, in a tweet said, '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 3rd-party mediation. That said, MEA should clarify that Delhi has never sought his intercession.' Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson, Raveesh Kumar, put out a strong statement rejecting Trump's statement completely. '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 @narendramodi to US President', he tweeted. Political leaders came down heavily on PM Modi as well. Taking a jibe at Prime Minister Modi, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury tweeted, 'What does this say about our long-held position of sovereignty over the Indian state of J&K, as defined in the Simla Agreement? Will our twitter-friendly PM have the courage to rebut the US President who has made a public statement?' In response, the MEA 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 Shimla Agreement & the Lahore Declaration provide the basis to resolve all issues between India & Pakistan bilaterally.' The harshest statement came from Congress's Randeep Singh Surjewala when he tweeted, 'India has never accepted third party mediation in Jammu and Kashmir! 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!' Speaking to India Today from Islamabad, Pakistan's Cabinet minister Fawad Chaudhary said he was not aware of the statement but added, 'The sooner India understands the problem, the better it is.' While this issue could be raised in Parliament on Tuesday, the White House or the State Department would have to clear the air on the issue lest it is used against India by Pakistan.