The US President,Mr. Donald Trump, has said that the US is watching the developments between India and Pakistan over Kashmir 'very closely' and repeated his offer to 'help' resolve the longstanding dispute between the two neighbours as he met the Pakistan Prime Minister, Mr. Imran Khan, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in the Swiss ski resort of Davos.
Addressing the media with the Pakistan Prime Minister prior to their private meeting ,Mr. Trump asserted that trade and borders were both critical points for discussion, while Khan said that for him, Afghanistan was the top priority. Mr. Trump told Khan, whom he referred to as “my friend” that he would speak to Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the ongoing Kashmir issue. The US President is expected to visit India in the coming weeks, marking his first visit after taking up his post in the White House.
“What’s going on between Pakistan and India…if we can help, we certainly will be willing to. We have been watching it very closely and it’s an honour to be here with my friend,” Trump said.
“The Pakistan-India conflict is a very big issue for us in Pakistan and we expect the US to always play its part in de escalating the tensions, because no other country can,” Khan said.
Trump has repeatedly offered to mediate following India’s August 5 decision to revoke the special status to Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcate the state into Union Territories, evoking strong reactions from Pakistan which has been trying to internationalise the issue.
New Delhi has defended its move, saying Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and the issue was strictly internal to the country, and the special status provisions only gave rise to terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir.
“The country took the decision of abrogation of Article 370, which had only given separatism and terrorism to that state,” Prime Minister Modi had said in October. Although President Trump has offered to mediate on the Kashmir issue in the past, New Delhi has told Washington that it is a bilateral matter between India and Pakistan and there is no scope for any third-party mediation.
On the sidelines of the G7 summit in the French town of Biarritz in August last year, Modi, while interacting with the media alongside President Trump, categorically rejected any scope for third-party mediation between India and Pakistan on Kashmir, saying the two countries could discuss and resolve all issues bilaterally and “we don’t want to trouble any third country”.