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India reiterates Kashmir is a bilateral issue, to ignore Trump’s comment to Imran Khan

In July this year, US President Trump had stirred up a storm when he claimed that PM Modi had requested him to meditate on the Kashmir issue. However, India had clarified that no such request was made.

On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump yet again repeated his offer to “help” on the Kashmir issue despite Indian authorities repeatedly snubbing his request by asserting that Kashmir is an internal matter.

Addressing the media with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan ahead of their talks on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, President Trump said, “We are talking about Kashmir and with relation to what’s going on with Pakistan and India. If we can help, we certainly will be helping. We have been watching it and following it very, very closely”.

India has yet again reiterated that Kashmir is an internal issue and any discussions with Pakistan will only be bilateral. However, since Trump’s mention of Kashmir was not specific and did not mention mediation explicitly, it is being speculated that India may not react strongly. The US president may visit India on February 24.

Senior government sources speaking to Times of India said, “Our position on the Kashmir issue has been clear and consistent. There is no role for any third party in this matter. There is nothing further to add.” They also pointed out that Trump did not himself mention either “mediation” or “facilitation” in his remarks when he addressed the media in Davos.

When asked about visiting Pakistan, Trump had stated during the meeting with Khan that they are visiting now and there is no need for another visit. Though Pakistan had tried to push ‘Kashmir’ into the discussions, the US readout over the meeting had not mentioned Kashmir at all.

Donald Trump, the US President often becomes enthusiastic to meddle in India’s affairs had previously spoken of his willingness to mediate. In July this year, US President Trump had stirred up a storm when he claimed that PM Modi had requested him to meditate on the Kashmir issue. However, India had clarified that no such request was made.

Later, India had again categorically rejected the offer of mediation saying that any discussion with Pakistan will only be bilateral. In August, too, he had offered to mediate saying it is a “very complicated place”.

In September 2019, Trump yet again presented himself to be an expert “arbitrator” to resolve the dispute between India and Pakistan. Trump stated that he is “ready, willing and able” to intervene if both countries wanted it.

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