"No Such Request By PM": Centre To Parliament On Trump's Kashmir Claim

Kashmir mediation claim: Opposition parties, especially the Congress, have demanded that PM Narendra Modi clarify on US President Donald Trump's comment

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US President Donald Trump met PM Narendra Modi at the recent G20 summit in Japan (File)


New Delhi: 

Highlights

  1. All issues with Pakistan has and will remain bilateral, S Jaishankar said
  2. The opposition parties were not appeased by the minister's clarification
  3. Opposition parties walked out in the Lok Sabha and in the Rajya Sabha

US President Donald Trump's stunning claim that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked him to "mediate" on Kashmir provoked a firestorm on Tuesday in parliament, where Foreign Minister S Jaishankar said he was "categorically assuring the house" that no such request had been made by PM Modi to the American president.

"I would like to put it on record...that no such request (on Kashmir) was made by the prime minister to the president of the United States. All issues with Pakistan has and will remain bilateral between India and Pakistan," the Foreign Minister said in a statement in both houses.

"I would like to reiterate that all engagements with Pakistan will remain only bilateral. I would also like to reiterate that bilateral dialogue is only possible when Pakistan ends cross-border terrorism. The Simla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration lay the path for any talks on the said issue," he added in the din of protests from the opposition benches.

Not appeased by the minister's clarification, opposition parties aggressively demanded that PM Modi clarify on Trump's comments in parliament and said they would not stop protesting until he did, shouting slogans of "Pradhan Mantri sadan main aao (PM come to the house)" and "Pradhan Mantri Jawab Do (PM must reply)".

Opposition parties walked out in the Lok Sabha and in the Rajya Sabha, unrelenting protests forced more than one adjournment.

Derek O Brien of the Trinamool Congress told NDTV: "My understanding is that the opposition will keep protesting until PM clarifies in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha."

Congress leader Sonia Gandhi, the UPA chairperson, reportedly told her party to prioritise the Trump row.

On Monday, with Imran Khan by his side, President Trump said from the Oval Office: "I was with Prime Minister Modi two weeks ago, and we talked about the subject. And he actually said, 'would you like to be a mediator, or arbitrator', and I said 'where?', and he said 'Kashmir', because this has been going on for many, many years. I was surprised for how long it has been going on," to which Imran Khan interjected to say, "70 years".

"I think they would like to see it resolved. I think you would like to see it resolved and if I can help, I would love to be a mediator. It is impossible to believe that two incredible countries that are very, very smart and very smart leadership can't resolve it...but if you want me to mediate or arbitrate, I would be willing to do it," the US President said.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who is in the US, tweeted that PM Modi "must tell the nation what transpired".

The ruling BJP accused the Congress of putting itself above national interest by targeting PM Modi.

"The way Congress and some opposition parties have protested...US and Foreign Minister have denied. To continue sloganeering in Rajya Sabha because they have more numbers...this is condemnable. When nation should speak in one voice, Congress is putting politics above national interest," said Union Minister Prakash Javadekar.

The US State Department, in apparent damage control, said while Kashmir is a bilateral issue, "the Trump administration welcomes Pakistan and India sitting down and the United States stands ready to assist".

On Tuesday evening, Imran Khan posted on Twitter that he was "surprised" by India's reaction to Trump's "offer of mediation".



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