Washington, July 23: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday said that he was surprised by India’s reaction to US President Donald Trump’s offer of mediation to bring Islamabad and New Delhi to dialogue table for resolving Kashmir conflict.
“Surprised by India’s reaction to President Trump’s offer of mediation to bring Pak and India to dialogue table for resolving Kashmir conflict which has held subcontinent hostage for 70 years. Generations of Kashmiris have suffered and are suffering daily and need conflict resolution,” Khan said in a tweet.
During a press conference with Khan on Monday, Trump had claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked him to mediate in the Kashmir dispute with Pakistan.
“I was with Prime Minister Modi two weeks ago, and talking of the subject, and he said ‘would you like to be a mediator?’, and I asked where, and he said Kashmir’. I said if I could mediate, I will help.. I would love to help on Kashmir,” adding it is a “terrible situation in Kashmir.. bombs going off all the time”.
India immediately rejected Trump’s assertion. “No such request has been made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the US President,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in a tweet.
“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 Simla Agreement & the Lahore Declaration provide the basis to resolve all issues between India & Pakistan bilaterally,” he said.
Hours after Trump offered to mediate in the Kashmir issue, US Acting Assistant Secretary Alice Wells clarified that the Trump administration welcomes India and Pakistan sitting down to resolve the issue and the “US stands ready to assist”.
Wells acknowledged that Kashmir is a bilateral issue for both parties to discuss — echoing India’s consistent stand on the subject.