The Trump administration has launched a damage control exercise after President Donald Trump’s remarks about mediation on Kashmir, with the State Department on Tuesday saying it was a “bilateral” issue between India and Pakistan, and the US “welcomes” the two countries “sitting down” for talks.
It also said Pakistan taking “sustained and irreversible” steps against terrorism is key to a successful dialogue with India.
“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.
India has already rejected Trump’s claim that Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought his mediation on the Kashmir issue.
For more than a decade, the US has consistently insisted that Kashmir is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan and it is for the two countries to decide on the nature and scope of the dialogue.
“We believe the foundation for any successful dialogue between India and Pakistan is based on Pakistan taking sustained and irreversible steps against militants and terrorists on its territory. These actions are in line with Prime Minister (Imran) Khan’s stated commitments, and Pakistan’s international obligations,” the State Department spokesperson said.
“We will continue to support efforts that reduce tensions and create an environment conducive for dialogue. This first and foremost means tackling the menace of terrorism. As the President indicated, we stand ready to assist,” the spokesperson said in response to a question.
On Monday, Trump stunned India by saying that Prime Minister Modi, during the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, sought his help in resolving the Kashmir issue. “I was with Prime Minister Modi two weeks ago and we talked about this subject (Kashmir). And he actually said, ‘would you like to be a mediator or arbitrator?’ I said, ‘where?’ (PM Modi said) ‘Kashmir’,” Trump said during his talks with Imran Khan, their first since the latter came to power in August, 2018.