Washington, 02 Aug, 2019: Raking up Kashmir issue again, US President Donald Trump said on Thursday that he was ready to assist if the two countries wanted him to help in resolving the decades-old dispute.
Trump was referring to his last week's meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, wherein he offered to help resolve the Kashmir issue.
"It is really up to Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi (to accept the offer of mediation)," Donald Trump told reporters responding to a question on India not accepting his offer of mediation on Kashmir. "Have they accepted the offer or not?", Trump sought a clarification when asked about India's rejection of his mediation offer.
"I think they are fantastic people - (Imran) Khan and (Narendra) Modi - I mean, I would imagine they could get along very well, but if they wanted somebody to intervene, to help them.... and I spoke with Pakistan about that and I spoke frankly in (sic) India about it," Donald Trump said.
He said that the issue of Kashmir had been going on for a long time.
When asked how would he "want to resolve the Kashmir issue", Donald Trump said, "If I can, if they wanted me to, I would certainly intervene."
Last week, in his joint media appearance with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in the Oval Office, Donald Trump stunned India by claiming that Prime Minister Modi sought his mediation/arbitration on the Kashmir issue. Donald Trump claimed that PM Modi had asked for this during their bilateral meeting in Japan in June on the sideline of the G-20 Summit.
Under the 1972 Simla Agreement, India has time and again maintained that it will not have a third party involvement in the Kashmir issue, which it sees as a bilateral matter with Pakistan.
The claim by the US President saw the Opposition parties in India demanding the Prime Minister Modi’s explanation.
In a bid to contain the damage created by President Trump, the US Acting Assistant Secretary Alice Wells earlier clarified that the Trump administration welcomes India and Pakistan sitting down to resolve the issue and the “US stands ready to assist”.
India almost immediately denied the claim and made it clear that the Kashmir issue was never discussed between PM Modi and Donald Trump. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar informed Parliament that Prime Minister Modi never made such a request.