Is Trump trying to play peacemaker role on Kashmir?
New Delhi, Aug 20: United States President Donald Trump, who offered to mediate between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir issue last week, spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and and Imran Khan on Monday in a bid to defuse rising tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.
Since Aug 5, government's decision to revoke Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, several world leaders have emphasised the need for reducing tensions between India and Pakistan.
President Trump went a step further and spoke directly to the leaders of the two neighbouring nations, facilitating himself the role of a peacemaker.
Trump bats for ease of tension in Kashmir
Trump spoke separately to Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Khan in his bid to ease fresh Indo-Pak tensions after India revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
Trump asked Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to "moderate rhetoric" with India over Kashmir, as he underlined the need of exercising "restraint" by both sides and avoid escalation of the "tough" situation in the region.
Trump's conversations with the two leaders comes nearly a month after the US president said he would help resolve the Kashmir dispute by mediating talks, a request vigorously denied making.
'Spoke to my two good friends', says Trump
Trump has urged his "two good friends", Prime Ministers Narendra Modi of India and Pakistan's Imran Khan, to work to towards reducing tensions over Kashmir.
"Spoke to my two good friends, Prime Minister Modi of India, and Prime Minister Khan of Pakistan, regarding Trade, Strategic Partnerships and, most importantly, for India and Pakistan to work towards reducing tensions in Kashmir. A tough situation, but good conversations!" Trump tweeted.
"A tough situation, but good conversations!" he said.
On July 22, during his joint media appearance with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan at the White House, President Trump stunned India by saying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought his mediation/arbitration on the Kashmir issue, a claim that was seen by many as outlandish and carrying little credibility.
India asserted that no such request was made by PM Modi to the US President and all issues will have to be resolved with Islamabad bilaterally.
A week later, Trump climbed down from his previous statement, saying it was up to India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue but he was ready to assist if the two South Asian neighbours wanted him to help in resolving the issue.
He said India made it clear to America that any discussion on the issue, if at all warranted, will only be with Pakistan and only bilaterally, which has long been India's stated position.
Imran khan wants Trump to mediate
In a series of tweets, Khan said that it's time for US President Donald Trump to mediate on the Kashmir issue.
"President Trump offered to mediate on Kashmir. This is the time to do so as situation deteriorates there and along the LOC with new aggressive actions being taken" by Indian forces, he said, adding that this has the "potential to blow up into a regional crisis".
Pakistan has been trying to focus international attention to Modi's sudden decision to scrap special status given to Jammu and Kashmir.
Tensions between India and Pakistan spiked after India abrogated provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution to withdraw Jammu and Kashmir's special status and bifurcated it into two Union Territories, evoking strong reactions from Pakistan.