For more on this, watch the video by Aakriti Handa.
US President Donald Trump stoked controversy when he proposed to mediate on the Kashmir issue between India and Pakistan. This was during Imran Khan’s debut visit to the United States (US) as the Prime Minister of Pakistan.
In their joint press briefing, President Trump said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked him to be a mediator or arbitrator and solve the 70-year-old dispute, when he met with Trump two weeks back, at the G20 Summit in Osaka.
Why did that raise a furore back home?
President Trump’ comment shook up political lobbies as it was a departure from the 1972 Shimla Agreement where India and Pakistan had promised to solve the Kashmir issue bilaterally only, which means no third party can interfere in resolving the Kashmir dispute. The bilateral agreement was again reiterated 27 years later in the Lahore Declaration of 1999, which was signed by then PM late Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Nawaz Sharif.
The Ministry of Home Affairs was quick to refute Trump’s claims, with spokesperson Ravish Kumar clarifying that “no such request was made by PM Modi”.
Even then, the comments created a ruckus in Parliament causing several disruptions, with the Opposition demanding a clarification straight from the horse’s mouth.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh reiterated that no such comments were made by PM Modi in Osaka, yet the Opposition refused to back down. Congress President Rahul Gandhi even tweeted, “If true, PM Modi has betrayed India’s interests”, demanding that PM Modi tells the nation as to what transpired in his meeting with Trump.
Did the US clarify on the issue?
Meanwhile, the White House issued a clarification saying, that the US believes that the Kashmir dispute be resolved bilaterally between India and Pakistan. The statement further said that India is one of America’s closest and most important allies and it looks forward to working with PM Modi to combat terrorism in the region.
Trump's Chief Economic Advisor Larry Kudlow, in response to a question by reporters asking if Trump had made the statement up, said that “It is a very rude question” and "The president doesn't make things up”.
What did Imran Khan have to say?
Pakistan PM Imran Khan couldn’t seemingly fathom the reason behind such an outcry. In a tweet, he said, that he was “Surprised by reaction of India to President Trump's offer of mediation”.
Has Trump said something like this before?
Kashmir is not the only dispute Trump said he would love to mediate. Last week, Trump complained over the demand on his time after claiming that South Korea's president, Moon Jae-in, had asked him to mediate a dispute with Japan. Trump lamented “How many things do I have to get involved in? It's like a full-time job, getting involved between Japan and Korea."For more on this, watch the video by Aakriti Handa.