Trump tells Imran Khan: PM Modi asked me to help with ‘disputed’ Kashmir region

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US President Donald Trump meets with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan at the White House Monday. (Source: Twitter/Government of Pakistan)

US President Donald Trump Monday offered to mediate in solving the Kashmir issue between India and Pakistan during his meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan. Trump said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked him to help ease tensions between the two neighbouring countries on the "disputed" Kashmir region and that he would love to be a mediator, Reuters reported.

In the wake of Trump’s remarks, the Ministry of External Affairs reiterated its stand that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and the that Kashmir continues to be bilateral issue. Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar stated that no such request has been made by PM Modi to US President. It has been India’s consistent position that all outstanding issues with Pakistan are discussed only bilaterally. "The Shimla Agreement & the Lahore Declaration provide the basis to resolve all issues between India & Pakistan bilaterally," he added.

In March this year, responding to a query by a journalist, MEA Spokesperson Ravish Kumar had said: As regards the resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir, our stand is consistent and well known. We reaffirm that Jammu & Kashmir is an integral part of India and is a matter strictly internal to India."

READ | Foreign Ministry refutes Trump s claims on Kashmir issue, says no request made by PM Modi

In Khan’s first meeting with the US president, Trump also said the United States is working with Islamabad to find a way out of the war in Afghanistan.

Trump also held out the possibility of restoring US aid to Pakistan, depending upon what is worked out, and offered assistance to Islamabad in trying to ease strained ties with India.

Responding to Trump’s statement that entailed about an American mediation to Kashmir issue, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah questioned the "undeclared shift in India s position on third party involvement in Kashmir". Abdullah also said that personally, he is of the opinion that the US President is "talking out of his hat" in reference to Trump’s comments on PM Modi asking for asking US assistance in solving Kashmir issue.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala attacked the Modi government for supposed requests to US President to mediate in the Kashmir issue. "India has never accepted third party mediation in Jammu & Kashmir! To ask a foreign power to mediate in J&K by PM Modi is a sacrilegious betrayal of country s interests. Let PM answer to the Nation!" Surjewala stated.

Khan told Trump there was only one solution for Afghanistan and that a peace deal with the Taliban was closer than it had ever been. He said he hoped in the coming days to be able to urge the Taliban to continue the talks.

Khan, who was accompanied by Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt Gen Faiz Hameed and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi among others, was greeted by Trump upon his arrival at the White House.

"The Prime Minister of Pakistan is here to showcase his vision of a ‘Naya Pakistan’ and to start a new era of bilateral relations. We have come with a narrative of peace and prosperity in the region," Qureshi tweeted soon after arriving at the White House.

(Inputs from Reuters)