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India again rejects Trump's Kashmir mediation offer, says 'discussion will only be with Pak'

By Simran Kashyap
|

New Delhi, Aug 02: Even as US President Donald Trump reiterated that he is ready to offer assistance to India and Pakistan in solving the Kashmir dispute, Union Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar said that any discussion on the matter "would only be with Pakistan and only bilaterally".

The foreign minister met with his US counterpart in Bangkok on Friday and held wide ranging discussions on regional issues, after which he tweeted that he has conveyed India's unaltered stand on Kashmir to Pompeo.

File photo of Jaishankar

"Have conveyed to American counterpart @SecPompeo this morning in clear terms that any discussion on Kashmir, if at all warranted, will only be with Pakistan and only bilaterally," Jaishankar wrote.

Trump on Thursday said that it is up to New Delhi and Islamabad to decide on mediation and that he is ready to assist if both the neighbouring countries wanted him to solve the matter.

"It's really up to Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi (to accept the offer of mediation)," 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.

Would intervene on Kashmir 'if wanted' by India, Pak, says Donald Trump

"I think they are fantastic people Khan and 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," Trump said.

When asked how would he "want to resolve the Kashmir issue", Trump said, "If I can, if they wanted me to, I would certainly intervene."

Trump's remarks comes days after his comment on Kashmir caused a stir in New Delhi. He claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked him to act as a mediator between India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir Issue.

However, India categorically denied that such a request was ever made by Modi and clarified that Kashmir is a bilateral issue between New Delhi and Islamabad.

During his joint conference with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, Trump in his Oval office had claimed that Modi, during his bilateral meeting on the sideline of G-20 summit in Japan with him, had brought up the issue of Kashmir with him and asked him to meditate.

"So I was with Prime Minister Narendra Modi two weeks ago and we talked about this subject. And he actually said, would you actually like to be a mediator or arbitrator? Did I say, where? He said Kashmir because this has been going for many, many years. I was surprised at how long it has been going on," he had said

Even then, Jaishankar had refuted that Modi ever made that request.

"We heard remarks by President Donald Trump in a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan, to the press that he is ready to mediate if requested by India and Pakistan, on Kashmir issue," he said in a statement to the Indian Parliament.

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