The Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday rejected United States President Donald Trump’s offer to help resolve the Kashmir dispute, saying there was “no role” for a third party mediating in the matter, PTI reported.
Speaking ahead of talks with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos on Tuesday, Trump had said the United States was watching developments between India and Pakistan over Kashmir “very closely” and was prepared to help.
“There is no role for any third party in the Kashmir issue,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said at a press conference. “Our position has been clear and consistent on Kashmir. It is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan.”
Kumar said the onus to create a conducive environment for bilateral talks was on Pakistan. “It should be done between the two countries under provisions of Simla Agreement and Lahore Declaration,” he added. “But onus is on Pakistan to create such conducive conditions – free from terror, hostility and violence.”
The spokesperson also said Pakistan’s attempt to create an “alarmist situation” in Kashmir has failed. “The global community understands its double standards,” Kumar said.
This was Trump’s fourth such offer to mediate in the Kashmir dispute since August 5. However, India has consistently maintained that Kashmir is a bilateral matter and the offers were turned down every time.
Tensions between India and Pakistan have ratcheted up since New Delhi abrogated Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 of the Constitution on August 5 and divided it into two Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. Pakistan, which has fought three wars with India for Kashmir since Independence, did not take the decision well. Pakistan responded by suspending trade with India, downgrading bilateral ties and sending back its envoy. It also approached several international bodies, including the United Nations.
Trump is expected to visit India in a few weeks, his first trip to the country. When asked if he would also visit Pakistan at that time, Trump was non-committal. “We are visiting right now, so we won’t really have to,” he had said. “But I wanted to say hello for both a relationship standpoint... we have had a great relationship”.