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After Trump's Kashmir mediation offer, opposition asks govt to clarify

By PTI
|

New Delhi, July 22: Taking exception to US President Donald Trump''s offer to mediate between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue, the opposition on Monday demanded that the Modi government should clarify whether there has been a shift in India''s position on third party involvement in the matter.

Trump on Monday offered to be the "mediator" between the two countries on the Kashmir issue as he met Prime Minister Imran Khan at the White House for the first time.

Randeep Surjewala

Trump said that he is ready to help, if the two countries ask.

Congress'' chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said India has never accepted third party mediation in Jammu and Kashmir.

"To ask a foreign power to mediate in J&K by PM Modi is a sacrilegious betrayal of country''s interests. Let PM answer to the Nation!" he tweeted.

Trump says PM Modi sought his help on Kashmir issue, India denies claim

"I honestly don''t think Trump has the slightest idea of what he''s talking about. He has either not been briefed or not understood what (Prime Minister) Modi was saying or what India''s position is on 3rd-party mediation. That said, MEA should clarify that Delhi has never sought his intercession," senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor tweeted.

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on Monday wondered whether the Indian government will call the US President a liar or there has been a shift in India''s position on third party involvement in dispute.

"Personally I think @realDonaldTrump is talking out of his hat when he says @PMOIndia asked for US involvement in solving the Kashmir issue but I''d like to see @MEAIndia call Trump out on his claim," Abdullah tweeted.

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury asked whether "our twitter-friendly PM" has the courage to rebut the US President who has made a public statement.

"What does this say about our long-held position of sovereignty over the Indian state of J&K, as defined in the Simla Agreement?" he said.

"India has always maintained its a bilateral issue, with no scope for third-party interference. What is this government upto?" Yechury asked.

Khan welcomed Trump''s remarks and said if the US agrees, prayers of more than a billion people will be with him.

India maintains that the Kashmir issue is a bilateral one and no third party has any role.

India has not been engaging with Pakistan since an attack on the Air Force base at Pathankot in January of 2016 by Pakistan-based terrorists, maintaining that talks and terror cannot go together.

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