US President again offers to mediate between Pakistan, India on Kashmir issue

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump has again offered to mediate between Pakistan and India on the Kashmir dispute. 

“If they [Pakistan and India] wanted somebody to intervene or to help them,” Trump said in response to a question from a reporter at the White House about his earlier offer to mediate the Kashmir issue, “I spoke with Pakistan about that, and I spoke, frankly, to India about it. But that’s been going on, that battle, for a long time.”

The US president was referring to his meeting last week with Prime Minister Imran Khan, where he had offered to help to resolve the Kashmir issue. 

India had rejected the offer making it clear that there can’t be any third-party intervention on the issue. However, Pakistan welcomed it.

“Well, that’s up to — it’s really up to Prime Minister Modi. And I met with Prime Minister Khan; I got along great with — I think they’re a fantastic people, Khan and Modi. I mean, I would imagine they can get along very well,” he said.

Trump added, “If I can — if they wanted me to, I would certainly intervene.”

Pakistan has often sought third-party mediation in the decades-old dispute which has cost tens of thousands of lives, but the idea is anathema to India, which insists the issue can only be resolved bilaterally.

Trump had set off a political storm in India by claiming during a meeting in Washington PM Imran that Modi had asked him two weeks ago to mediate in the Kashmir dispute.

“I will say that we have a very good relationship with India. I know that your relationship was strained a little bit … maybe a lot,” Trump had said. “But we will be talking about India, it will be a big part of the conversation today.”

“If I can help, I would love to be a mediator. If I can do anything to help, let me know,” the US president had added.

PM Imran on his official visit to the United States, stirred the further controversy further by saying Kashmir could only be resolved with outside help.

“Bilaterally, there will never be (an end to the Kashmir conflict),” PM Imran told Fox News, adding that Pakistan and India were “poles apart”.

“I really feel that India should come… (to) the table. The US could play a big part, President Trump certainly can play a big part.”