Trump silent on Pak as terror base, but ready to mediate on J&K

A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi targeted Pakistan in his presence for backing terror against India, US President Donald Trump deflected a direct question on Pakistan-based terror and again offered to mediate on the Kashmir issue if both countries wanted him to.

Trump third time renewed his offer of arbitration between India and Pakistan ahead of a meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan. The offer came barely 24 hours after he shared a stage with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a huge public meeting in Houston and emphasised the US stand to “free the world of radical Islamic terrorism”.

At the beginning of meeting with Imran Khan, President Trump said if both Imran Khan and PM Modi wanted him to mediate an agreement between them on Kashmir, he was “ready, willing and able”. Trump, when asked by a reporter on whether he endorsed India’s assertion that Pakistan was the “hub of terrorism”, said he had always pointed to Iran being the “number one” terror state.

Trump further said he had heard a “very aggressive statement” on Monday from the Indian Prime Minister that he indicated he had not expected, though it had been “well received” by the audience of more than 50,000 at the “Howdy, Modi!” event in Houston.

“I trust Pakistan… Want to see everyone treated well in Kashmir… I have a very good relation with Prime Minister Modi. I have a very good relationship with Prime Minister Khan. If they both say ‘we have a point to iron out’, I will be ready to do it,” he told reporters, Imran Khan at his side. “I think I’d be an extremely good arbitrator,” he added.

In Texas on Sunday, Trump shared the stage with Modi and positioned himself as a close friend of India. The US President, in his speech to the Indian diaspora gathered at the NRG stadium, said fighting radical Islamic terror was among the top shared agendas between Washington and New Delhi.

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