India denies Trump claim on Kashmir mediation

The Ministry of External Affairs has strongly denied United States President Donald Trump’s claim that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had requested him to mediate in the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan.

Trump, speaking to reporters after meeting Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in the White House, said: “I was with Prime Minister Modi two weeks ago and we talked about this subject and he actually said ‘Would you like to be a mediator or arbitrator?’ I said: ‘Where?’ He said: ‘Kashmir’. Because this has been going on for many many years. I was surprised how long it has been going on.”

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said Modi had made no such request. “It has been India’s consistent position that all outstanding issues with Pakistan are discussed only bilaterally,” Kumar said. “Any engagement with Pakistan would require an end to cross-border terrorism. The Shimla Agreement [and] the Lahore Declaration provide the basis to resolve all issues between India [and] Pakistan bilaterally.”

The US State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs said Kashmir was a “bilateral issue” for India and Pakistan to discuss, but added that the US was ready to assist the two countries. “…the Trump administration welcomes Pakistan and India sitting down and the United States stands ready to assist,” said the bureau’s Acting Assistant Secretary Alice Wells.

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