United States President Donald Trump on Monday spoke to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan after a telephonic conversation with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, PTI reported. This was the US president’s second conversation with Khan in less than a week.
Trump said he had spoken to the two leaders about working towards reducing tensions over the Kashmir dispute. They also spoke about trade and strategic partnerships. “A tough situation, but good conversations!” the US president tweeted.
Trump had first called Modi and spoken to him for 30 minutes. The two leaders discussed regional developments and ways to “strengthen US-India economic ties through increased trade”, The Hindu reported, citing the White House statement. “The president conveyed the importance of reducing tensions between India and Pakistan and maintaining peace in the region”.
Modi told the US president that “extreme rhetoric and incitement to anti-India violence by certain leaders in the region was not conducive to peace”. It was a dig at the Pakistani leadership, which has been trying to get the international community to act against what it sees as India’s unilateral actions in Jammu and Kashmir.
India ended Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5, and moved to split the state into two Union Territories. The Centre also imposed a security lockdown and a communications blackout. New Delhi’s actions were swiftly condemned by Islamabad, which downgraded diplomatic ties and ended bilateral trade. Since then, Pakistan has also attempted to raise the Kashmir matter at the United Nations Security Council, saying India’s decisions were a threat to regional and global peace. At the council’s meeting behind closed doors on Friday, India said Kashmir was its internal matter.
The same day, Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh set off another war of words with the Pakistani leadership by leaving the door open on a possible review of the country’s no-first-use policy on nuclear weapons in the future. Following that, Imran Khan said the international community should be worried about the safety of nuclear weapons “in the control of the fascist, racist, Hindu supremacist Modi government”. His government’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi called it a “damning reminder” of India’s “unbridled thirst for violence”.
Last month, Trump had inserted himself into the dispute by claiming that Modi had asked him to mediate in the Kashmir dispute. The US president reiterated his willingness to help India and Pakistan resolve the decades-old Kashmir dispute “if they wanted”.
While India refuted the claims, the Trump administration said the president stood firm on his statement. Last week, Indian Ambassador to the United States Harsh Vardhan Shringla said Trump had made it clear that his mediation offer was “not on the table anymore”.
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