Published: Sun, August 04, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Any discussion on Kashmir will only be with Pakistan: India to US

Any discussion on Kashmir will only be with Pakistan: India to US

On Thursday, to a query by a reporter in the White House on the Kashmir issue, Trump, said: "Have they accepted the offer or not (to mediate)?" In response, the Pakistani prime minister told Trump that he will have "the prayers [of] a billion people" in both countries if he is able to help resolve the smoldering conflict.

"This not just a unique opportunity for Pakistan and India but also for President Trump, who happens to be the first sitting U.S. president to offer to mediate between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue", said Shamshad Ahmad, who also served as Pakistan's Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

About Prime Minister Imran Khan's meeting with Afghan Taliban, the Foreign Minister said a time frame about it could not be given at the moment, but the meeting would be held soon. I would imagine they could get along very well, but if they wanted somebody to intervene, to help them. "I spoke frankly with India about it... if they wanted me to I would certainly intervene".

Even as US President Donald Trump raked up Kashmir for the second time in ten days, New Delhi sought to remind Washington that there is no scope for a third-party mediation on Kashmir.

"If you want me to mediate or arbitrate, I would be willing to do that", he said.

The president also seemed to be doubling down on a part of the earlier offer in which he had claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked him to mediate in a recent conversation, which had been forcefully and swiftly dismissed by India.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi's letter to UN Secretary General on the grave situation in occupied Kashmir has also been circulated among members of the UN Security Council.

"Trump's offer only adds more pressure on India to resolve the Kashmir Issue", the diplomat added.

The apparent quid pro quo has irritated New Delhi, which not only blew off Trump's initial effort at mediation, virtually calling his claim a lie, but doubled down on the bilateral line in the face of the US President's latest overture.

"I$3 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", he wrote on popular microblogging site Twitter. For him, the only thing that needs to be discussed with Pakistan on Jammu and Kashmir is cross-border terrorism.

While Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan may be delighted at the reiteration, there is a sense of déjà vu on Raisina Hill as such an offer has overtly or covertly made by US Presidents for the past two decades - and consistently refused.

However, India in its knee-jerk reaction again spurned the idea of mediation on Kashmir.

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