January 2020 News

India To Ignore What Trump Said On Kashmir To Imran

22 January 2020
Times of India
Omer Farooq Khan and Indrani Bagchi

New Delhi: India is not likely to react strongly to US President Donald Trump's remarks on Kashmir to Pakistani PM Imran Khan during their conversation in Davos even as Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Trump had assured Khan that he would visit Islamabad soon. Apart from the view in government there isn't really anything significant that the US president has committed to, New Delhi would not like to sour the atmosphere before Trump's visit here next month. Trump is scheduled to visit India for the first time on February 24. Senior government sources said, 'Our position on the Kashmir issue has been clear and consistent. There is no role for any third party in this matter. There is nothing further to add.' They also pointed out that Trump did not himself mention either 'mediation' or 'facilitation' in his remarks. Asked if he would visit Pakistan while heading out to India, Trump said, We are visiting right now, so we wont really have to. But I wanted to say hello for both a relationship standpoint...we have had a great relationship.' He added that US-Pakistan relations were at their closest at present. Qureshi, however, claimed Trump had assured Khan that he would visit Pakistan soon but did not specify when the visit would take place. Ahead of US elections, it is difficult to see Trump embarking on a politically fraught visit. On Kashmir, sources said Trump's position had not changed, and he had stuck to saying US is 'following it very, very closely' without committing to any particular direction. We are talking about Kashmir and with relation to whats going on with Pakistan and India. If we can help, we certainly will be helping. We have been watching it and following it very, very closely, Trump said. The president's visit to India will be used to sign off on a trade deal that has been remarkably difficult to close. This week, commerce minister Piyush Goyal is expected to hold another round of talks with his counterpart Robert Lighthizer in Davos. US ambassador Ken Juster recently led a group of foreign envoys to JK on a visit that was intended to show that while the internal conditions may not be optimal, there was enough to be optimistic about. Balancing out the positive feedback was a cautionary tweet by the US state department urging the Indian government to release local politicians who had been detained and to restore internet communications in the Valley. Khan, however, kept India upfront. In his remarks, he said, There are issues that we want to talk about, like Afghanistan. Fortunately, we are on the same page... India, of course, it is a big issue. We always hope that the US will play its part in resolving that because no other country can. Over the weekend, Qureshi had met his US counterpart Mike Pompeo in Washington to request US assistance to get Pakistan off the FATF grey list, citing the financial burdens. Pakistan has to complete compliance on at least 21 out of 27 action plans it has agreed to before the FATF eases pressure.

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