Kashmir Issue: Govt denies Trump's claim amid Oppn fury

Kashmir Issue: Govt denies Trump's claim amid Oppn fury

Foreign Minister S Jaishankar. AFP

India on Tuesday categorically ruled out any scope for third-party mediation to resolve the Kashmir dispute after US President Donald Trump's remarks on the vexed problem set off a political firestorm in the country.

Amid protests by opposition parties, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar informed the Parliament that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had not asked the US president to mediate.

“We heard remarks by President Donald Trump in a meeting with Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, to the press that he is ready to mediate if requested by India and Pakistan on Kashmir issue. I would like to categorically assure the House that no such request had been made by the Prime Minister to the US president,” Jaishankar informed the Rajya Sabha. He made an identical statement in the Lok Sabha.

Reiterating India's position on Kashmir - that it would resolved bilaterally - the foreign minister said that any engagement with Pakistan would require an end to cross-border terrorism.

"The Shimla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration provide the basis to resolve all issues between India and Pakistan bilaterally,” Jaishankar added.

However, opposition parties were not satisfied and demanded that Modi issue a clarification in both the Houses.

The US State Department went into damage control as Trump's remarks led to an uproar in India. 

"While Kashmir is a bilateral issue for both parties to discuss, the Trump administration welcomes Pakistan and India sitting down and the United States stands ready to assist," tweeted Alice Wells, acting assistant secretary of the department's Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs.

Brad Sherman, a Democratic Congressman and member of the House foreign affairs committee, said he apologised to the Indian ambassador in Washington for Trump's statement.

"Everyone knows PM Modi would never suggest such a thing. Trump's statement is amateurish and delusional. And embarrassing," he tweeted.

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