India's External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Wednesday reasserted India's long-standing position on outside intervention in India-Pakistan border conflict to his US counterpart, US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo. Jaishankar's comments came in the aftermath of the controversy triggered by President Donald Trump's claim that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had insisted upon US intervention to help solve India's Kashmir problem.
"I have conveyed to American counterpart, US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo this morning in clear terms that any discussion on Kashmir, if at all warranted, will only be with Pakistan and only bilaterally," Jaishankar said after concluding wide-ranging discussions with Pompeo on the sidelines of ministerial meetings of the regional forum of ASEAN in Thailand.
Trump had created a stir in July when he met Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan by claiming that during his recent meeting with Modi, the Indian prime minister had asked him to mediate between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue. The Indian Opposition created huge uproar on the matter, demanding to know, whether under Modi India's well-established foreign policy positions were being tacitly changed.
At that time, Jaishankar had to give a statement in the Parliament to categorically deny hat Modi had discussed anything to this effect with the US president. "I hope, in view of my very specific and categorical responses, that there is no confusion in the mind of anybody on this matter," he said.
It was not clear why the US president quoted an inaccurate fragment of his conversation with the Indian prime minister when the Indian and US authorities could easily confirm whether such a conversation took place and they did. Various media reports claimed that the officials of both countries confirmed among themselves that there was no record of any such possible conversation between the two world leaders on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan — where the two leaders last met. This confirmation was borne out of the official records of discussions between the Indian and US governments, which were checked soon after questions were raised on Trump's claim.
The US is believed to have informally confirmed to the Indian side that neither the US Department of State nor the White House had any of Trump’s claims on official record. On the other hand, evidence back home suggested that Trump's claim could have been entirely made up. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) found that there was no remote off-the-cuff talk on Kashmir to even set off a misunderstanding between the two leaders, The Economic Times reported.
Meanwhile, the Pakistani side lapped up the opportunity, with Imran Khan's office and Islamabad's foreign minister stating that they would welcome US mediation offer in Kashmir. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that Trump's offer of mediation on Kashmir during Khan's first visit to Washington was "more than Pakistan's expectations."
Since then, Trump has walked back on his comment and thrown out various versions of that claim. Just yesterday, Trump claimed that it was up to India and Pakistan to resolve their bilateral issues, but he would certainly 'help' if the two countries asked him to.
"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. "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.
He rued that the issue of Kashmir had been going on for a long time.
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."
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Aug 02, 2019 10:55:12 IST