A senior US Congressman, Eliot L Engel, on Tuesday reached out to India after New Delhi dismissed US President Donal Trump’s claim on mediation in Kashmir. Engel, who is the chairman of House Committee of Foreign Affairs met Indian Ambassador to US Harsh Vardhan Shringla in this regard.
Engel said that he supported “dialogue between India and Pakistan” on the issue of Kashmir. “I support dialogue between India and Pakistan on Kashmir dispute, but dialogue’s pace and scope can only be determined by India and Pakistan.”
This came even as the US State Department issued a statement after India categorically denied that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked Trump to mediate on the Kashmir issue, reported news agency ANI. A spokesperson of the US State Department said that “Kashmir is a bilateral issue for both India and Pakistan to discuss”.
The spokesperson added, “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”.
“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,” said the US State Department spokesperson.
The statement in this regard was made by Trump following his meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is currently in the US.
In a joint press briefing with Imran Khan, the US President said, "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."