NEW DELHI/WASHINGTON: Tensions between India and Pakistan are “less heated right now than it was two weeks ago,” said US President Donald Trump Monday while once again reiterating his offer to mediate over Kashmir.
“India and Pakistan are having a conflict over Kashmir as you know. I think it is a little bit less heated right now than it was two weeks ago,” President Trump told reporters at the White House, ahead of departing for a campaign rally at Fayetteville in US' North Carolina.
Tensions have simmered between India and Pakistan after New Delhi abrogated Article 370 that gave special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated it into two Union Territories – J&K and Ladakh.
“I am willing to help them. I get along with both countries very well. I am willing to help them if they want to. They know that is out there,” added Trump.
This is not the first time that Trump has offered to mediate between the two nations over Kashmir.
The US President ruffled feathers on July 22 with his claim that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked him to mediate in the Kashmir issue when the two leaders met “weeks ago” on the sidelines of G20 Summit. He said this during a joint press brief with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in Washington.
This was immediately dismissed by India with New Delhi "categorically" denying no such suggestion was ever made. Citing the Shimla agreement and the Lahore declaration, the External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had said that there was no question of India seeking mediation by any third party in Kashmir as the issue was a bilateral one between the two nuclear-armed nations.
The US State Department too said it's a bilateral issue and US can only assist.
On August 1, Trump reiterated his offer to mediate but added that is up to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to accept the offer of assistance.
India has long maintained that Kashmir is a bilateral issue and no third party has any role in it. The Foreign Ministry said that Pakistan must end cross border terrorism if it wants to engage in talks with New Delhi.