US President Donald Trump on Wednesday (local time) said that both India and Pakistan are at “very serious odds” over Kashmir right now and assured that he would do “whatever he can” to settle the issue between the two neighbouring countries.
“With respect to Pakistan and India, we talked about Kashmir. I offered whether it is arbitration or mediation, or whatever it has to be I’ll do whatever I can because they are at very serious odds right now and hopefully that will get better,” the president told reporters during a briefing at the White House.
On Monday, Trump once again offered to mediate on the Kashmir issue during his meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. The president had said he is “ready, willing, and able” to meditate on the Kashmir matter if India and Pakistan want him to do so.
“If I can help, I would certainly do that. It will be dependent on both of these gentlemen (Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Imran Khan),” Trump had said in response to a question on whether he will offer to mediate on the issue of Kashmir.
“One without the other does not work, if you want to do the mediation or if you want to do the arbitration. But I would certainly want to help if both India and Pakistan would want to do that. It’s a complex issue, but if both want it, I would be willing to do that,” he had added.
A similar statement was made by the US President in the presence of Khan at a joint press conference during the latter’s visit to Washington in July.
Meanwhile, during his meeting with the president, a day after Trump held bilateral talks with Khan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India is not shying away from talks with Pakistan and has urged it to take concrete steps to tackle terrorism but they have not made any efforts to combat the menace.
New Delhi has repeatedly maintained that dialogue with Pakistan will not be initiated until it takes concrete action against terror emanating from its soil.
Putting forward his perspective on terrorism, Modi had further underscored to Trump that 42,000 lives have been lost to terror attacks in the last 30 years and that it is imperative for the international community to join the fight against terror, according to Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale who divulged the details during a press briefing here after the bilateral meeting between the two leaders.
Tensions between India and Pakistan soared following New Delhi’s decisions to abrogate Article 370 which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the region into two Union Territories (UTs). Pakistan has downgraded its diplomatic ties and suspended bilateral trade with India in the aftermath of the move.
India has maintained that its constitutional decisions on Kashmir is its internal matter — a stance that has been supported by many countries around the world.