Washington DC, July 23: US department of state has on Monday said the Kashmir issue was a bilateral matter concerning both India and Pakitan and that the United States was “ready to assist”, a few hours after President Donald Trump said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had invited him as a third-party mediator over the Kashmir issue.
State department spokesperson told ANI: “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. We believe the foundation for any successful dialogue between India and Pakistan is based on Pakistan taking sustained and irreversible steps against militants and terrorists on its territory.”
The spokesperson added saying all these moves are in line with Modi’s stated commitments, also Islamabad’s international obligations. It said the US will continue to assist efforts to reduce tensions and establish an environment conducive for dialogue.
It added: “This first and foremost means tackling the menace of terrorism. As the President indicated, we stand ready to assist.”
Earlier on Monday, the US president has said Modi asked him to act as a third-party mediator in order to resolve the Kashmir issue.
Trump, who has hosted Pak’s Prime Minister Imran Khan yesterday at the White House, said: “So I was with Prime Minister Narendra Modi two weeks ago and we talked about this subject. And he actually said, would you actually like to be a mediator or arbitrator? Did I say, where? He said Kashmir because this has been going for many, many years. I was surprised at how long it has been going on.”
He added, “It should be resolved, so he has to think the same thing, so maybe I will speak to him and we will see what we can do.”
However, in an official statement, the department didn’t offer comment over Trump’s claim on the Indian prime minister asking him to be a mediator in Kashmir matter.
In a swift response, India, soon after Trump’s comments on Kashmir, clarified no such request from New Delhi has been made to the US president by Modi.
In a tweet, ministry of external affairs (MEA) spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said: “We have seen @POTUS’s remarks to the press that he is ready to mediate if requested by India and Pakistan, on Kashmir issue. No such request has been made by PM @narendramodi to US President. It has been India’s consistent position.”
He continued tweeting: “… The Shimla Agreement & the Lahore Declaration provide the basis to resolve all issues between India and Pakistan bilaterally.”
…that all outstanding issues with Pakistan are discussed only bilaterally. Any engagement with Pakistan would require an end to cross border terrorism. The Shimla Agreement & the Lahore Declaration provide the basis to resolve all issues between India & Pakistan bilaterally.2/2
— Raveesh Kumar (@MEAIndia) July 22, 2019