US in damage control mode after Donald Trump's 'Kashmir' remark
Washington : The US administration switched on damage control mode Monday after India rejected Trump's claim of PM Modi asking him to become a mediator on Kashmir issue between India and Pakistan. US officials finessed his words to clarify that Washington believes that Kashmir is a bilateral issue between Pakistan and India and they are ready to assist the two parties.
The State Department’s South Central Asia bureau that oversees US regional policy tweeted: "While Kashmir is a bilateral issue for both parties to discuss, the Trump administration welcomes #Pakistan and #India sitting down and the United States stands ready to assist."
The tweet was signed with the initials AGW, which stands for Alice Wells. A factsheet issued by the White House at the conclusion of the Trump-Khan talks also avoided all mention of Kashmir.
"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 think they would like to see it resolved and you (Imran Khan) would like to see it resolved. If I can help, I would love to be a mediator," President Trump said at the joint press briefing with Imran Khan.
The "prayers of over a billion people will be with you if you can mediate and resolve the situation," Imran Khan responded.
In a series of tweets, foreign ministry cleared that no such request has ever been made to America.
...that all outstanding issues with Pakistan are discussed only bilaterally. Any engagement with Pakistan would require an end to cross border terrorism. The Shimla Agreement & the Lahore Declaration provide the basis to resolve all issues between India & Pakistan bilaterally.2/2— Anurag Srivastava (@MEAIndia) July 22, 2019
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump had met each other on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan. Pakistan PM Imran Khan was also present at the event but there were no bilateral meeting between PM Modi and PM Khan.
India has been against any third-party mediation in Kashmir, though it has been repeatedly sought by Pakistan in various international forums, including the United Nations.