United States President Donald Trump on Tuesday reiterated his offer to mediate in the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan. The crisis in Kashmir “is a big deal”, Trump said, adding that it was an “explosive situation”.
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 attempted to raise the Kashmir matter at the United Nations Security Council, saying India’s decisions were a threat to regional and global peace. On Tuesday, Pakistan said it would approach the International Court of Justice.
When a reporter asked Trump if the bilateral crisis was solvable, the US president spoke about the history of the region. “Well, they have been having this – these talks for hundreds of years, even under different names,” he told reporters in the White House. “But this is – but it is Kashmir. And Kashmir is a very complicated place. You have the Hindus and you have the Muslims, and I would not say they get along so great. And that is what you have right now.”
The US president added that millions of people “want to be ruled by others, and maybe on both sides”. “And you have two countries that haven’t gotten along well for a long time. And, frankly, it’s a very explosive situation.”
On Monday, Trump spoke to both Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan’s Imran Khan in an effort to bring down the tensions in the region. He also said that he would meet Modi in France over the weekend during the G7 summit, indicating that he would discuss the matter with him.
“They’re both friends of mine,” Trump said, referring to Khan and Modi, adding that they were both “great people” who love their countries but are in a “very tough situation” now.
“Kashmir is a very tough situation,” he added. “And, you know, we are talking about – this has been going on for decades and decades. Shooting. I don’t mean shooting like shooting a rifle, I mean like major shooting of howitzers, of – you know, of heavy arms. And it’s been going on for a long period of time. But I get along really well with both of them.”
The US president said his government was trying to help, adding that there were tremendous problems between India and Pakistan. “And I will do the best I can to mediate or do something.” He added that India and Pakistan were “not exactly friends” at the moment and said the situation was complicated. “A lot has to do with religion. Religion is a complicated subject.”
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”.
Trump’s latest attempts to help came on a day when India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh told United States Secretary of Defense Mark T Esper that Jammu and Kashmir was an internal matter of India. A statement by the Ministry of Defence said Esper appreciated New Delhi’s stance on the troubled region.
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