Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said India and Pakistan were one before 1947 and are capable of solving their own problems – reiterating India’s stand that Jammu and Kashmir is a bilateral matter before US President Donald Trump, who had twice offered to mediate in the issue. “We spoke last night about Kashmir… and the Prime Minister really feels that he has the situation under control,” added President Trump, who was addressing reporters along with PM Modi ahead of their meeting on the sidelines of the G7 summit in France.
“There are many bilateral issues between India and Pakistan, and we don’t want to trouble any third country. We can discuss and resolve these issues bilaterally,” PM Modi said.
“India and Pakistan should work together for welfare of people of our two nations,” he added, underscoring the many challenges before the two nations that are high as well on the priority list — “illiteracy and poverty and disease”.
The situation in Jammu and Kashmir and trade were high on the agenda during the bilateral summit of the two leaders and US State department had said President Trump will raise the issue of restrictions and arrests of leaders.
Earlier, President Trump has spoken of Kashmir, describing the issue as “explosive” and offering to mediate between India and Pakistan if asked. Washington has traditionally maintained that Jammu and Kashmir is a bilateral matter between India and Pakistan. But since July, President Trump has offered his assistance more than once.
In July, after a meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, President Trump controversially claimed that PM Modi had asked him to mediate on Kashmir. India rejected that claim and the “mediation” offer, emphasising that there can’t be any third party intervention on Kashmir.
Earlier this month, President Trump referred to the matter again, saying he would “certainly intervene if they (India and Pakistan) want me to”, triggering another reiteration of Kashmir’s bilateral status from New Delhi. Foreign Minister S Jaishankar tweeted that he had conveyed India’s stand to his US counterpart Mike Pompeo during their meeting in Bangkok on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ meeting.
Later, asked about India declining the US offer, President Trump had told reporters, “It is really up to Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi”.