Trump says PM Modi sought his help on Kashmir issue, India denies claim
Washington, July 22: United States President Donald Trump on Monday offered to 'mediate Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan' and claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also asked him to help in the matter.
"Indian PM Narendra Modi has also asked him to help with disputed Kashmir region... would love to be a mediator," Reuters cited Trump as saying. "If I can do anything to help, let me know," he added.
New Delhi, which has long maintained that the Kashmir issue is a bilateral matter in which there is no scope for third mediation or intervention. Washington's position too has long been that it will help with mediation only if both parties request it.
India denies claim
Ministry of External Affairs has denied US President Donald Trump's claim that Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked him to mediate in Kashmir dispute with Pakistan.
"We have seen @POTUS's remarks to the press that he is ready to mediate, if requested by India & Pakistan, on Kashmir issue. No such request has been made by PM @narendramodi to US President," MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in alter night tweet on Monday.
He added: ""It has been India's consistent position that all outstanding issues with Pakistan are discussed only bilaterally. Any engagement with Pakistan would require an end to cross border terrorism. The Shimla Agreement & the Lahore Declaration provide the basis to resolve all issues between India & Pakistan bilaterally.
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.
White House statement on Trum's meeting does not mention Kashmir talk
"We have a very good relationship with India. I know that your relationship (with India) is strained a little bit, maybe a lot. But we will be talking about India... (it's) a big part of our conversation today and I think maybe we can help intercede and do whatever we have to do. It's something that can be brought back together. We will be talking about India and Afghanistan both," Trump told Khan.
Khan, who was sitting by Trump's side in the Oval Office of the White House, said that he is ready and welcomed such a move by the US. "Right now, you would have the prayers of over a billion people if you can mediate (on Kashmir)," Khan told Trump.
However, the official statement released by White House on President Trump's meeting with PM Imran Khan does not mention Kashmir.
Prime Minister Imran Khan met Donald Trump for the first time and their focus will be on refreshing bilateral relations, which was hit after the US President publicly criticised Pakistan, cancelled military aid and asked it to do more to fight terrorism.
Khan will make his maiden trip to the United States on the invitation of President Trump.
The relations between Pakistan and the US nose-dived after President Trump last year accused Islamabad of giving nothing to Washington but "lies and deceit" and providing "safe haven" to terrorists.