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Modi asked for help on Kashmir, can mediate: Trump to Pak PM

Last updated on: July 23, 2019 00:02 IST

United States President Donald Trump offered to be the "mediator" between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue as he met Prime Minister Imran Khan at the White House where the two leaders discussed a host of issues.

IMAGE: US President Donald Trump greets Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Trump also said that received a request to mediate on Kashmir from Prime Minister Narendra Modi during their recent meeting.

"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," Trump said at the joint press briefing with Imran Khan.

 

India has not been engaging with Pakistan since an attack on the Air Force base at Pathankot in January of 2016 by Pakistan-based terrorists, maintaining that talks and terror cannot go together.

"We have two incredible countries that are very, very smart with very smart leadership, (and they) can't solve a problem like that. But if you would want me to mediate or arbitrate, I would be willing to do that," Trump said.

"We have a very good relationship with India. I know that your relationship (with India) is strained a little bit, maybe a lot. But we will be talking about India… (it's) a big part of our conversation today and I think maybe we can help intercede and do whatever we have to do. It's something that can be brought back together. We will be talking about India and Afghanistan both," Trump told Khan.

Khan, who was sitting by Trump's side in the Oval Office of the White House, said that he is ready and welcomed such a move by the US.

"Right now, you would have the prayers of over a billion people if you can mediate (on Kashmir)," Khan told Trump.

IMAGE: Trump receives Khan at the White House. Photograph: Leah Millis/Reuters

Khan was accompanied by Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Inter-Services Intelligence chief Lt Gen Faiz Hameed and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi among others.

India has been against third-party mediation in Kashmir, though it has been repeatedly sought by Pakistan in various international forums, including the United Nations.

Early this year, tensions flared up between India and Pakistan after a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Muhammed killed 40 CRPF personnel in Kashmir's Pulwama district.

Amid mounting outrage, the Indian Air Force carried out a counter-terror operation, hitting the biggest JeM training camp in Balakot, deep inside Pakistan on February 26.

The next day, Pakistan Air Force retaliated and downed a MiG-21 in an aerial combat and captured Indian pilot, who was handed over to India on March 1.

Lalit K Jha
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