The White House on Tuesday said that United States President Donald Trump “encouraged” Prime Minister Narendra Modi to improve relations with Pakistan and fulfil his promise to make the lives of the people of Kashmir better, PTI reported. The statement came after the two leaders met on the sidelines of the annual United Nations General Assembly session in New York City.

Before the bilateral meeting, the Trump and Modi addressed the media, with the US president stressing on the need for dialogue between India and Pakistan. He said it would be great if the two countries “can work out something on Kashmir”. He had also reiterated his offer to mediate in the Kashmir dispute. His remarks came a day after he met Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday and once again offered to mediate if both sides agree.

The White House readout of the meeting said Trump noted the good progress on defence and security cooperation between India and the United States.

The 40-minute meeting between the two leaders focused on terrorism and trade. The statement said: “Trump reaffirmed the importance of greatly increasing trade between the US and India, and highlighted the need for resolving barriers to free, fair, and reciprocal trade, which includes improving United States companies’ market access in India.”

The White House added that the two leaders also discussed progress on different aspects of their strategic partnership and upcoming opportunities to ensure it remains strong.

“Finally, both leaders expressed concerns about the situation in Afghanistan and shared ideas about how to work together to promote security and prosperity in the country,” it said.

Issuing a statement on India’s behalf after the meeting, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said the prime minister shared his concerns on terrorism in the context of Jammu and Kashmir. “He told President Trump that 42,000 lives have been lost in the last 30 years due to terrorism in Kashmir and sought the support from the international community to fight the scourge of terrorism,” Gokhale said.

The foreign ministry said Trump has agreed that the two countries must fight terror together.

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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