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22 Jul, 2019 20:13

‘No such request made’: India DENIES Trump was asked to mediate Kashmir crisis

‘No such request made’: India DENIES Trump was asked to mediate Kashmir crisis

India is denying that its prime minister ever asked US President Donald Trump to mediate in the long-standing dispute over Kashmir, after Trump made a comment about it in a meeting with the Pakistani PM in Washington.

“No such request has been made by PM Narendra Modi to [the] US President,” Raveesh Kumar, spokesman for India’s Ministry of External Affairs, tweeted on Monday. “It has been India's consistent position that all outstanding issues with Pakistan are discussed only bilaterally.”

Earlier in the day, Trump was hosting Pakistani PM Imran Khan at the White House and, in the course of a 40-minute press event, quipped that Modi had, asked him two weeks earlier to “be a mediator” in the Kashmir dispute. 

He said this after Khan had brought Kashmir up, wishing the US would “push this process” and described how over a billion and a quarter inhabitants of the subcontinent were being “held hostage” by the crisis for decades.

“We have tried our best, we made all overtures to India to start dialogue, resolve our differences through dialogue, but unfortunately we haven’t made headway,” Khan said, adding that he hopes the US – as the “most powerful country in the world” – might be able to bring India and Pakistan together.

The Kashmir conflict goes back to the 1947 partition of India following the departure of British colonial authorities, which established the present-day Pakistan and Bangladesh as predominantly Muslim polities on the subcontinent. The maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir initially sought to remain independent and neutral, but ended up siding with India amid a territorial dispute with Pakistan. 

Since then, the territory has been divided, with Pakistan controlling the northern and western parts, India the central and southern portion, and China taking possession of two areas in the northeast.

India and Pakistan, both nuclear powers, have repeatedly clashed over the disputed territory, most recently in February when Indian and Pakistani fighter jets clashed after an Indian airstrike on what New Delhi said was a terrorist camp in the Pakistani-controlled area of Kashmir.

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Though Trump has painted himself as the ultimate deal-maker going back to his days as a real-estate mogul, his diplomatic efforts over the past two and a half years have not quite lived up to the hype. US efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East have amounted mostly to recognition of Israeli claims, from Jerusalem to the Golan Heights. While a political proposal is awaiting the results of the upcoming Israeli elections, the economic plan touted by Trump’s adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner last month failed to get any traction with the Palestinians.

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