Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday rejected any possibility of a third party mediating in the Kashmir dispute as it was a bilateral matter for India and Pakistan, PTI reported. He said this to reporters in the presence of United States President Donald Trump, who had offered to mediate last month.
Modi and Trump met on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Biarritz, a town in France. Before the meeting, Trump had said he planned to discuss the Kashmir dispute with Modi at the G-7 summit.
“All the issues between India and Pakistan are of bilateral in nature, and we don’t want to trouble any third country,” Modi said. “We can discuss and resolve these issues bilaterally.”
“If before 1947 we were one country, then I think we can find a solution now too,” Modi said. “When I had called [Pakistan] Prime Minister Imran Khan after he won elections, I told him that Pakistan has to fight against poverty, illiteracy and other bigger issues, and India has to also fight against it. I told him we should work together for the welfare of our people.”
Trump said Modi had told him during discussions last night that the situation in Jammu and Kashmir was under control. “They speak with Pakistan and I am sure that they will be able to do something that will be very good,” Trump told reporters.
The two leaders had a “very warm, very positive meeting” lasting 40 minutes, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said later.
Meanwhile, during the meeting with reporters, Trump joked about Modi’s use of Hindi for public interactions. “He actually speaks very good English, he just doesn’t want to talk,” Trump said, after which the two leaders shared a brief moment of laughter.
Last week, Donald Trump had reiterated his offer to mediate in the Kashmir dispute. He said the crisis “is a big deal”, adding that it was an “explosive situation”. He had first inserted himself into the dispute last month by claiming that Modi had asked him to mediate. India refuted the claims, but the Trump administration said the president stood firm on his statement.
India on August 5 announced its decision to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special status 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.
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