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PM Narendra Modi will never talk about US mediation on Kashmir, says Congress MP Shashi Tharoor

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said that it is India's clear policy that we do not want a third-party mediation to resolve Kashmir issue with Pakistan.

PM Narendra Modi will never talk about US mediation on Kashmir, says Congress MP Shashi Tharoor

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Tuesday said that it is impossible that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will seek mediation from US on Kashmir issue. Tharoor added that it is India's clear policy that we do not want a third-party mediation to resolve Kashmir issue with Pakistan because if India wants to talk to Pakistan, New Delhi can do that directly with Islamabad.

The Congress MP took a swipe at US President Donald Trump and said that he does not know what he is saying. Tharoor added that it is quite possible that Trump failed to understand Kashmir issue or nobody from his office briefed him about this issue.

On Monday, Trump had said during a joint press briefing with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan that PM Modi had asked him to mediate in Kashmir issue. "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."

Union External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday denied Trump's claim and said in Rajya Sabha that there was no mediation request made by Prime Minister Modi, but the opposition demanded that PM Modi must give clarification on the issue.

“I would like to categorically assure the House that no such request has been made by PM Modi.  It has been India's consistent position that all outstanding issues with Pakistan are discussed only bilaterally. Any engagement with Pakistan would require an end to cross-border terrorism...The Shimla Agreement and the Lahore declaration provide the basis to resolve all issues between India & Pakistan bilaterally,” said the External Affairs Minister.

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Meanwhile, the growing political heat in India over Trump's claim forced the US administration to go in damage control mode, calling the issue a “bilateral” one between India and Pakistan.

A statement released by US State Department read, “Kashmir is a bilateral issue for both India and Pakistan to discuss”. The spokesperson, however, added that “The Trump administration welcomes Pakistan and India sitting down and the United States stands ready to assist”.

The US, however, reiterated that “foundation for any successful dialogue” between the nuclear-armed neighbours is based on “Pakistan taking sustained and irreversible steps against terrorists in its territory”.