India has lodged a strong protest with the US State Department over President Donald Trump’s controversial claim that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked him to mediate in the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan.
As this is in contradiction with India’s stand that Kashmir is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan with no scope for third party mediation, Trump’s remarks drew strong reactions from the Ministry of External Affairs on Monday evening.
Now, according to sources, India has taken up the matter with the White House and lodged a protest.
This has now prompted the US administration to launch a damage control exercise with the State Department clarifying that US has always considered the Kashmir dispute a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan.
After a meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, Donald Trump on Monday said that Prime Minister Modi, during the G20 summit in Osaka sought his help in resolving the Kashmir issue.
“I was with Prime Minister Modi two weeks ago and we talked about this subject (Kashmir). And he actually said would you like to be a mediator or arbitrator? I said where? (Modi said) Kashmir,” Trump said during his talks with Imran Khan.
He also said that he would like to be a mediator after Imran Khan offered him the role during the meeting.
The claims came as a shock for India as US has consistently maintained for many years that Kashmir is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan.
The White House has now come out with a clarification saying, “Pakistan has taken some steps against terrorist groups operating within Pakistan. It is vital that Pakistan take action to shut down all groups once and for all.”
“Consistent with decades of US policy, we believe the dispute over Kashmir must be resolved bilaterally by India and Pakistan. The Republic of India is one of America’s closest and most important allies, and we look forward to working with Prime Minister Modi and Indian officials to combat terrorism and extremism throughout the region,” read a joint statement by the Chairs of the House India Caucus.