- India has been against any third-party mediation in Kashmir
- On Monday, Trump said: "I would love to be a mediator"
- In series of tweets, foreign ministry said "no such request was made"
The foreign ministry has denied US President Donald Trump's claim that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked him to "mediate" on Kashmir. President Trump, who hosted Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan at the White House on Monday, said, "If I can help, I would love to be a mediator".
"I was with Prime Minister Modi two weeks ago and we talked about this subject and he actually said 'Would you like to be a mediator or arbitrator', I said 'Where', He said 'Kashmir'. Because this has been going on for many, many years... I think they would like to see it resolved and you (Imran Khan) would like to see it resolved. If I can help, I would love to be a mediator," President Trump said at the joint press briefing with Imran Khan.
The "prayers of over a billion people will be with you if you can mediate and resolve the situation," Imran Khan responded.
In a series of tweets, the foreign ministry said "no such request has been made" by the Prime Minister. Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar posted:
We have seen @POTUS's remarks to the press that he is ready to mediate, if requested by India & Pakistan, on Kashmir issue. No such request has been made by PM @narendramodi to US President. It has been India's consistent position...1/2— Raveesh Kumar (@MEAIndia) July 22, 2019
...that all outstanding issues with Pakistan are discussed only bilaterally. Any engagement with Pakistan would require an end to cross border terrorism. The Shimla Agreement & the Lahore Declaration provide the basis to resolve all issues between India & Pakistan bilaterally.2/2— Raveesh Kumar (@MEAIndia) July 22, 2019
Hours after Trump's remark, the US State Department on Monday said that the matter is a bilateral issue concerning Islamabad and New Delhi, however, Washington is "ready to assist".
"While Kashmir is a bilateral issue for both parties to discuss, the Trump administration welcomes Pakistan and India sitting down and the United States stands ready to assist," a State Department spokesperson told PTI in response to a question if Trump's remarks reflect a change in the country's policy on Kashmir.
President Trump and PM Modi had met last month on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan was also at the summit, though there was no bilateral meet between him and PM Modi.
India has been against any third-party mediation in Kashmir, though it has been repeatedly sought by Pakistan in various international forums, including the United Nations.
The US had upheld India's stance, maintaining that Kashmir is a bilateral issue and should be solved between New Delhi and Islamabad.
India has also refused to initiate dialogue with Pakistan despite repeated appeals from Imran Khan, maintaining that Pakistan must first take action against terrorists operating from its soil.
The relation between the two nations has nosedived since the terror strike at Uri in 2016 -- and further deteriorated after a suicide attack by a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist that killed 40 soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama on February 14.
Days later, India conducted air-strikes on a Jaish camp in Pakistan's Balakot on February 26. The Pakistan Air Force struck back, targeting civilian and military installations in India and captured Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan Varthaman.
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was quick to react on Monday. His tweet read: "Is Govt of India going to call @realDonaldTrump a liar or has there been an undeclared shift in India's position on third party involvement in #Kashmir?"
The Congress's Shashi Tharoor tweeted: "I honestly don't think Trump has the slightest idea of what he's talking about. He has either not been briefed or not understood what Modi was saying or what India's position is on 3rd-party mediation. That said, MEA should clarify that Delhi has never sought his intercession."