US president Donald Trump's assertion that "(Prime Minister Narendra) Modi had asked him to mediate on the Kashmir issue when they met in Osaka, Japan on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit last month" has evoked more than one reaction. While India has rejected Trump's claims, Opposition leaders in the country attacked Modi and asked him to come clean.
Trump, who was meeting Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan in White House, said, "If I can help, I would love to be a mediator. If I can do anything to help, let me know. Trump was responding to a question, adding that he is ready to help, if the two countries ask for it.
"I was with Prime Minister Modi two weeks ago and we talked about this subject (Kashmir). And he actually said, 'would you like to be a mediator or arbitrator?' I said, 'where?' (Modi said) 'Kashmir'."
However, the US president faced flak for his remarks at home. Democrat Brad Sherman slammed Trump for his "amateurish and delusional" statement. Taking to Twitter, Sherman said, "Everyone who knows anything about foreign policy in South Asia knows that #India consistently opposes third-party mediation re #Kashmir. Everyone knows PM Modi would never suggest such a thing. Trump’s statement is amateurish and delusional. And embarrassing."
"I just apologized to Indian Ambassador @HarshShringla for Trump’s amateurish and embarrassing mistake. 2/2"
Everyone who knows anything about foreign policy in South Asia knows that #India consistently opposes third-party mediation re #Kashmir. Everyone knows PM Modi would never suggest such a thing. Trump’s statement is amateurish and delusional. And embarrassing. 1/2
— Rep. Brad Sherman (@BradSherman) July 22, 2019
A Democrat, Sherman represents California's San Fernando Valley and has been in the US House of Representatives since 1997, serving his eleventh term in Congress. Sherman's observation on the president's tweet is reflective of his extensive experience in foreign policy, especially with regards to South Asia.
Sherman, who has also served as the Ranking Member of the Asia Pacific Subcommittee in the House Foreign Affairs Committee, holds vast experience on India-US ties and the situation in the subcontinent over the years. Sherman had also batted for reducing US aid to Pakistan citing the local government's insincerity in dealing with terrorism.
The Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar rejecting Trump's claims said, "We have seen President Trump's remarks to the press that he is ready to mediate, if requested by India and Pakistan, on the Kashmir issue. No such request has been made by Prime Minister to the US President."
He said 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 Simla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration provide the basis to resolve all issues between India and Pakistan bilaterally" Kumar said.
India's consistent policy has been that Kashmir is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan and there is no scope for any role by any third party.
Updated Date: Jul 23, 2019 10:23:15 IST