Donald Trump on Kashmir issue: Willing to mediate if India, Pakistan agree
United States President Donald Trump on Monday said that he is "ready, willing, and able" to mediate on the issue of Kashmir if India and Pakistan want him to do so.
"If I can help, I would certainly do that. It will be dependent on both of these gentlemen (Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Imran Khan)," Trump said in response to a question on whether he will offer to mediate on the issue of Kashmir.
"One without the other does not work, if you want to do the mediation or if you want to do the arbitration. But I would certainly want to help if both India and Pakistan would want to do that. It's a complex issue, but if both want it, I would be willing to do that," he added.
Trump also praised the 'Howdy, Modi' mega rally in presence of Khan and said he has heard a "very aggressive statement" by Prime Minister Modi.
"It was very well received within the room," Trump said, referring to the gathering of 50,000 people at the NRG stadium in Houston.
At the rally on Sunday, 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 Khan, 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," Trump asked 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.
Trump and 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 Modi's meeting with President 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," Modi had said.
On his part, Trump had said he and 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.
Trump's remarks came at a press conference in the presence of Imran Khan following a bilateral between the two leaders on Monday.
Trump said that he shares a good relationship with both Khan and Modi and can act as a good 'arbitrator'.
"I've done it before, believe it or not. And I've never failed as an arbitrator, I've been asked to arbitrate disputes - pretty big ones - from friends and I've done it in a good, successful fashion...If I can be of help...but also have to have the assent from the other sides," he said.