India on Friday categorically rejected US President Donald Trump’s offer to act as a mediator between New Delhi and Islamabad to resolve Kashmir issue and reiterated that it is a bilateral issue.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar who met his United States counterpart Micheal Pompeo on the sidelines of the second day of 9th East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers meet, said he had conveyed to his counterpart that any discussion on Kashmir will only take place between India and Pakistan.
“Have conveyed to American counterpart @SecPompeo this morning in clear terms that any discussion on Kashmir, if at all warranted, will only be with Pakistan and only bilaterally,” Jaishnakar tweeted after meeting with Pompeo.
Have conveyed to American counterpart @SecPompeo this morning in clear terms that any discussion on Kashmir, if at all warranted, will only be with Pakistan and only bilaterally.
— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) August 2, 2019
This is the first high-level meeting between the two countries after Trump during Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to America stunned everyone with his remark on mediation between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue.
During his July joint conference with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, Trump in his Oval office had claimed that Modi had brought up the issue of Kashmir with him and asked him to meditate.
Just hours before the Jaishankar-Pompeo meeting here, Trump in Washington once again offered to mediate but said this time that it is up to India and Pakistan on mediation and that he is ready to assist if both the neighbouring countries wanted him to solve the matter.
The pull-aside meeting of two leaders in Bangkok also follows a day after India expressed its grave concern over recent US military assistance to Pakistan and took up the matter with the Trump administration. Last week the Pentagon had informed the Congress of its decision to approve a military assistance package worth USD 125 million for “continued support” of the F-16 programme to Pakistan
However, India categorically denied that such a request was ever made by Modi and clarified that Kashmir is a bilateral issue between New Delhi and Islamabad.
The meeting on the Asean sidelines between Jaishankar and Pompeo is the third between the two over the last two months.
The two leaders first met in late June in New Delhi to set the stage for the meeting between President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in Japan.
The duo also met at G-20 summit as they were the part of delegation accompanying Trump and Modi in Japan.