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Conflict between India, Pakistan over Kashmir less heated now: Donald Trump

Indian Express 2019-09-11 02:10:43

Trump’s remarks were his first on the issue since his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the G7 summit in France on August 26.

Tensions between India and Pakistan over Kashmir are “less heated” now as compared to two weeks ago, US President Donald Trump has said, reiterating his offer to help the two South Asian neighbours ease the situation if both of them want.

Trump’s remarks were his first on the issue since his meeting with Prime Minister on the on August 26. “India and Pakistan are having a conflict over Kashmir as you know. I think (it) is a little bit less heated right now than (what) was two weeks ago,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Monday.

“I get along with both countries very well,” Trump said while responding to a question on his assessment of the situation between India and Pakistan. “I am willing to help them if they want. They know that. That (offer) is out there,” he said.

Trump, who in July had used the word “mediate” or “arbitrate”, is now using the word “help”, after having used “intervene” earlier as well.

During a meeting with visiting Pakistani Prime Minister in July, Trump had offered to mediate between the two countries on the issue of Kashmir.

India was quick to reject the offer, saying the Kashmir issue was bilateral. It also dismissed Trump’s claim that Modi had asked him to mediate.

During his meeting with Modi in France last month, Trump had said that Kashmir is an issue that needs to be resolved between India and Pakistan.

Asserting that abrogation of was its internal matter, India has strongly criticised Pakistan for making “irresponsible statements” and provocative anti-India rhetoric over the country’s internal issues.

A month after political leaders were detained and communication restrictions were put in place in Jammu and Kashmir, the United States had last Friday expressed concern over the “widespread detentions” and had “urged” authorities to “respect human rights”.

Washington has also asked Indian authorities to “resume political engagement with local leaders” and hold “elections at the earliest”.

This is the strongest statement by the US administration so far on the Centre’s move to scrap Jammu and Kashmir’s special status. It comes almost 11 days after Trump had said on August 26 that he had discussed the issue on August 25 over dinner and had said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi “really feels he has it under control”.