United States President Donald Trump on Monday said his offer to mediate in the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan was still in place if both countries agreed to it. Calling himself an “extremely good arbitrator”, Trump said, “If I can help, I will certainly do that.”
Trump made the remark in a press meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly session in New York City. The president had made such an offer for the first time during a meeting with Khan at the White House in July.
When asked if his offer still stood, Trump said: “It would always stand. If I can help, I would certainly do that. And it will be dependent on both of these gentlemen [Khan and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi]. One without the other doesn’t work...If both Pakistan, let’s say, and India wanted me to do that, I am ready, willing, and able. It’s a complex issue. It’s been going on for a long time.”
Trump said previous presidents had treated Pakistan badly but he trusts the country and Imran Khan. When asked if he endorsed Modi’s remark on Sunday that Pakistan was a hub of terrorism, Trump said: “Well, I really have been pointing much more to Iran. I mean, Iran if you look at what, that’s been really the state of terror. And I’ve been saying it’s the number one state of terror in the world.”
Khan told Trump that Kashmir was facing a “huge humanitarian crisis” and “eight million people were under siege by 9 lakh troops for 50 days”. He said the United States was the most powerful country in the world and had a responsibility to use its influence on the United Nations Security Council. “And so I was going to say that – were you supposed to meet Narendra Modi now, I would’ve asked you to at least lift the siege,” Khan told Trump.
Trump said he wanted “everyone to be treated well”.
Trump said in Khan’s presence that Narendra Modi’s remarks at the “Howdy, Modi” rally in Texas on Sunday were “very well-received” by the crowd of over 50,000 people. “I didn’t know I was going to hear that statement, I had said. But it was a very aggressive statement and I hope that they are going to be able to come together, India and Pakistan, to do something that is really smart and good for both,” Trump said. “There’s always a solution and I really believe there’s a solution to that.”
At the event in Houston in Trump’s presence, Modi had said, without naming Pakistan and Imran Khan, that India’s recent decisions on Jammu and Kashmir were bothering those “who cannot even manage their own country” and were responsible for spreading hatred. “Be it 9/11 in America or 26/11 in Mumbai, where can the conspirators be found?” he had asked. “The time has come for a decisive battle to be fought against terrorism and those backing it.”
Trump’s mediation offer
Trump has offered a number of times to mediate in the Kashmir dispute this year but it has been turned down by India. The US president first inserted himself into the dispute in July 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. On August 20, Trump said the Kashmir crisis “is a big deal”, adding that it was an “explosive situation”. On September 10, he told reporters that the conflict was “a little bit less heated right now than [it] was two weeks ago”.
Tensions between India and Pakistan have ratcheted up since New Delhi revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5. Pakistan, which has fought three wars with India for Kashmir since Independence, did not take the decision well.
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