India rejects Trump’s claim of request for mediation with Pakistan

India says it has not asked US President Donald Trump to mediate between New Delhi and Islamabad, rejecting an opposite claim by the American president.

Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyan Jaishankar told a parliament session in New Delhi on Tuesday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had not sought any help from Trump over Kashmir.

“The US president made certain remarks to the effect he was ready to mediate if requested by India and Pakistan. I categorically assure the house that no such request has been made by the prime minister, I repeat, no such request was made,” the top Indian diplomat told agitated lawmakers.

Jaishankar stressed that there could be no third-party involvement in India’s problems with Pakistan.

“I also reiterate that it has been India’s position that all outstanding issues are discussed only bilaterally. I further underline any engagement with Pakistan would require an end to cross-border terrorism.”

Speaking at the White House just before he sat down for talks with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, Trump told reporters on Monday that Modi had asked him during the G20 meeting in Japan last month whether he would like to be a mediator on Kashmir, which is at the heart of decades of hostility between India and Pakistan.

​US President Donald Trump (R) speaks during a meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, DC, the US, on July 22, 2019. (Photo by AFP)

Trump’s claim was quickly rebutted by New Delhi on Monday night.

During heated exchanges in parliament on Tuesday, opposition members walked out in protest.

India has long bristled at any suggestion of third-party involvement in tackling Kashmir, a Muslim-majority region.

Trump’s remarks also risked further straining American ties with India, which are already under pressure over trade.

Kashmir has been split between India and Pakistan since partition in 1947. Both countries claim all of Kashmir and have fought three wars over the territory.

India regularly accuses Pakistan of arming and training militants and allowing them across the restive frontier in an attempt to launch attacks. Pakistan strongly rejects the accusation.

Indo-Pakistani Relations nosedived in February when over 40 Indian paramilitaries were killed in a bomb attack in Kashmir. New Delhi blamed Pakistan-based militants. Islamabad denied the claim.

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