In what seems to be a U-turn from his earlier "mediation" claim, US president Donald Trump on Monday said that India and Pakistan are capable of resolving the Kashmir issue themselves.
"US is friends with both India and Pakistan. I have spoken to both the prime ministers about the Kashmir issue. The prime minister (Narendra Modi) feels that he has it under control. They speak with Pakistan and I'm sure that they will be able to do something that will be very good," Trump said.
His remarks come a month after his controversial statement during Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's visit to the White House, when Trump had claimed that Modi had asked him to mediate between the two countries on the Kashmir issue. India had denied his claims.
Answering a question from the press, Prime Minister Narendra Modi too said on the sidelines of the G7 Summit that India and Pakistan will resolve all issues bilaterally, without speaking directly about Kashmir.
"There are many issues with Pakistan. We don't bother other countries over these issues. All issues can be solved through discussion."
"I had spoken to Imran Khan after his election as the prime minister. India and Pakistan were one country before 1947 and we have a lot of common issues. Pakistan is fighting illiteracy and so is India; Pakistan is fighting disease and so is India. We need to combine our forces to fight problems like poverty," he said.
Modi and Trump were meeting for the first time after the Union government revoked Jammu and Kashmir's special status by abrogating Article 370 and bifurcating the state into two Union Territories.
New Delhi's move was severely criticised by Pakistani leadership, including Prime Minister Imran Khan, who made provocative anti-India statements, triggering tensions in bilateral ties.
India has categorically told the international community that the scrapping of Article 370 was an internal matter and also advised Pakistan to accept the reality.
"Pakistan's propaganda was dealt the final blow in the meeting between the PM and President Trump. Pakistan was hoping to get some statement which will give it a last ray of hope. The meeting has categorically confirmed that any issue concerning India and Pakistan has to be discussed bilaterally," BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao said in New Delhi.
Refering to talks with Modi , Trump said that they had "some great discussions."
"We are talking about trade, we're talking about military and many different things. We had some great discussions, we were together last night for dinner and I learned a lot about India," the US President said.
Modi also thanked Trump for congratulating him after his recent election victory and said their two countries had "shared democratic values."
Later, Trump tweeted that he had "a great meeting with my friend Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi."
Echoing similar sentiments, Narendra Modi tweeted that he was looking forward to expanding co-operation between the large democracies.
Excellent meeting with @POTUS @realDonaldTrump! We had useful discussions on bilateral matters. We agreed to address trade issues for mutual benefit soon. Looking forward to expand cooperation as large democracies for the benefit of our citizens and global peace and prosperity. pic.twitter.com/xfZgbP8yZB
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 26, 2019
Trump also spoke about various trade deals with Japan, India and China and refused to give a timeline for the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan. He listed trade deals with India as an achievement of the summit but did not delve into the details.
Briefing the reporters after the talks between Modi and Trump, foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale said the two leaders had a "very warm, very positive meeting" which lasted 40 minutes. This was their third interaction since Prime Minister Modi was re-elected in May this year for a second five year term.
When asked about the discussion on the Kashmir issue during the talks, the foreign secretary said there was "no discussion" on it during the bilateral meeting.
To another question, Gokhale said India has not taken any steps to harm the regional stability.
"Normalcy is returning to Jammu and Kashmir," he said, adding that certain restrictions will remain in place in the state to maintain law and order. "Their meeting principally focused on trade and energy," Gokhale said.
"The prime minister spoke of the importance of energy imports from the US and he referred to the fact that $4 billion worth of imports were already in the pipeline and that would be expected to be stepped up," he said.
During his visit to the US next month to address the United Nations General Assembly, the prime minister is expected to have a round table with the top CEOs of the US energy companies in Houston.
"The objective is two fold, first to see how we can import more energy from the US and second is how we can invest in the energy sector in the US," Gokhale said, adding that President Trump has offered to send a top administration official to the conference to facilitate it.
Later, the White House issued a readout that said the two leaders discussed ways to broaden their strategic partnership and greatly increase trade between the United States and India.
"The president reaffirmed the need for dialogue between India and Pakistan to reduce tensions and acknowledged India's role as a critical partner in Afghanistan," it added.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Aug 26, 2019 21:56:27 IST