External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Friday said he had told the United States that any discussions on the Kashmir dispute will only be directly with Pakistan. His statement came hours after United States President Donald Trump reiterated his offer to help India and Pakistan resolve the decades-old dispute “if they wanted”.
Jaishankar said he had wide-ranging discussions with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on regional matters. “Have conveyed to American counterpart [Pompeo] this morning in clear terms that any discussion on Kashmir, if at all warranted, will only be with Pakistan and only bilaterally,” the external affairs minister wrote on Twitter.
Jaishankar met Pompeo on the sidelines of the 9th East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers meeting in Bangkok.
On Thursday, when a reporter asked Trump about India’s rejection of his July 22 offer to mediate in Kashmir, the president asked: “Have they accepted the offer or not?”
The reporter answered in the negative, to which Trump said: “Well, that’s up to – it’s really up to Prime Minister Modi. And I met with Prime Minister Khan; I got along great with – I think they’re a fantastic people, Khan and Modi. I mean, I would imagine they can get along very well.”
“But if they wanted somebody to intervene or to help them – and I spoke with Pakistan about that, and I spoke, frankly, to India about it,” he added. “But that’s been going on, that battle, for a long time.”
When asked how he wanted to resolve the dispute, Trump said: “If I can – if they wanted me to, I would certainly intervene. Yeah.”
After a meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in Washington on July 22, Trump claimed that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had requested him to mediate in the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan.
Trump had said: “I was with Prime Minister Modi two weeks ago and we talked about this subject and he actually said ‘Would you like to be a mediator or arbitrator’? I said: ‘Where?’ He said: ‘Kashmir’. Because this has been going on for many many years. I was surprised how long it has been going on.”
However, in Pakistan, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the offer was “more than Pakistan expected” and Imran Khan had welcomed the statement. Khan had said the United States “could play a big part” in the resolution of the conflict.