Describing himself as “an extremely good arbitrator”, US President Donald Trump said on Monday that he was ready to mediate between Pakistan and India on the Kashmir issue, but both sides have to agree on that.
Mr. Trump made the remarks during his meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in New York.
“If I can help, I will certainly help,” Mr. Trump said, describing the Kashmir issue as a “complex” one which has been going on for a long time.
“If both (Pakistan and India) want, I am ready to do it,” he said, a day after attending ‘Howdy, Modi’ rally in Houston, where he shared the stage with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and displayed a close friendship and a common vision on fighting terrorism.
“At any point of time, I would be an extremely good arbitrator,” he said.
Mr. Trump praised the ‘Howdy, Modi’ mega rally in presence of Mr. Khan and said he has heard a “very aggressive statement” by Prime Minister Modi.
“It was very well received within the room,” Mr. Trump said, referring to the gathering of 50,000 people at the NRG stadium in Houston.
At the rally on Sunday, Mr. Modi hit out at Pakistan for its support to terrorism and said India’s decision to nullify Article 370 has caused trouble to those who cannot handle their country as he called for a “decisive battle” against terrorism.
During his press interaction alongside Mr. Khan, Mr. Trump repeatedly snubbed Pakistani reporters and on one occasion even asking one of the journalists whether he is part of the Pakistani delegation.
“Where do you find reporters like these,” Mr. Trump asked Mr. Khan in response to a question posed by a Pakistani journalist on Kashmir.
Prime Minister Khan, who has declared himself an ambassador of Kashmiris, on Sunday briefed US lawmakers, scholars, human rights activists and the media on the repercussions of India revoking the special status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5.
Mr. Trump and Mr. Imran last met in July at the White House. During their first one-on-one interaction, the US president had expressed his willingness to mediate between India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue — an offer India rejected.
During Mr. Modi’s meeting with Mr. Trump on the sidelines of the G7 Summit in France last month, the Prime Minister categorically rejected any scope for third party mediation between India and Pakistan on Kashmir.
“All the issues between India and Pakistan are of bilateral in nature, and we don’t want to trouble any third country. We can discuss and resolve these issues bilaterally,” Mr. Modi had said.
On his part, Mr. Trump had said he and Mr. Modi spoke about Kashmir “at great length” during the G7 Summit and he feels that both India and Pakistan can resolve it on their own.
His comments on Kashmir in the French city of Biarritz was seen as an apparent backtracking from his earlier comments, offering mediation.
Tensions between India and Pakistan spiked after India abrogated provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
India’s action evoked strong reactions from Pakistan which downgraded diplomatic ties with New Delhi and expelled the Indian Ambassador.
Pakistan has been trying to internationalise the Kashmir issue but India has asserted that the abrogation of Article 370 was its “internal matter”. New Delhi has also asked Islamabad to accept the reality and stop its anti-India rhetoric.