Kashmir arbitration offer by US

India denies, Pakistan welcomes

Abdur Rahman Khan
Kashmir issue has once again stirred the politics involving this time , beyond two neighboursIndia and Pakistan, the major global power United States of America.
US President Donald Trump on Monday expressed his willingness to mediate between India and Pakistan to resolve the 70-year-old Kashmir dispute if both the atomic power countries asked him for it.
Trump had claimed that Prime Minister Modi asked him to mediate on Kashmir when they met in Osaka, Japan on the sidelines of the G20 Summit last month.
While addressing a joint news conference with the US president at the White House Oval Office on Monday, Prime Minister Imran Khan welcomed the offer and said the entire Subcontinent would pray for him if he helped resolve the dispute.
“If I can help, I would love to be a mediator. If I can do anything to help, let me know,” said Mr Trump when a Pakistani journalist asked him if he would like to mediate between India and Pakistan on Kashmir.
“I was with Prime Minister Modi two weeks ago and we talked about this subject (Kashmir). And he actually said would you like to be a mediator or arbitrator? I said, where? (Modi said) Kashmir,” Mr Trump explained.
“Because this has been going on for many, many years. I am surprised that how long. It has been going on [for long],” he said, as PM Khan reminded him that the dispute has been going on for 70 years.
“And I think they (Indians) would like to see it resolved. I think you (PM Khan) would like to see it resolved. And if I can help, I would love to be a mediator,” said President Trump while reiterating his offer to mediate.
“It should be. I mean it’s impossible …… we have two incredible countries that are very, very smart with very smart leadership, can’t solve a problem like that. But if you would want me to mediate or arbitrate, I would be willing to do that,” Mr Trump said.
The prime minister welcomed his remarks, saying: “Right now, you would have the prayers of over a billion people if you can mediate (on Kashmir).” Mr Trump added: “So all those issues should be resolved. So, he (Modi) has asked me the same thing. So maybe we’ll speak to him. Or I’ll speak to him and we’ll see if we can do something.”
However, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs immediately issued a statement denying the US president’s claim that PM Narendara Modi had requested him to mediate on the Kashmir dispute. “We have seen @POTUS’s remarks to the press that he is ready to mediate, if requested by India & Pakistan, on Kashmir issue. No such request has been made by PM @narendramodi to US President. It has been India’s consistent position that all outstanding issues with Pakistan are discussed only bilaterally. Any engagement with Pakistan would require an end to cross border terrorism. The Shimla Agreement & the Lahore Declaration provide the basis to resolve all issues between India & Pakistan bilaterally,” said Raveesh Kumar, the official spokesperson.
India denies
Amid a massive controversy over US President Donald Trump’s claim on Kashmir mediation, India on Tuesday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi never made any such request to the US leader and reiterated that Kashmir is a bilateral issue.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said in the Rajya Sabha that all outstanding issues between India and Pakistan can be discussed only bilaterally, thereby ruling out any third party mediation.
“I would like to categorically state that no such request has been made by the Prime Minister to the US President,” he said after Congress and other opposition parties raised the issue of the claim made by Trump in his meeting with visiting Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in Washington on Monday.
S Jaishankar told the Rajya Sabha that it had been the consistent position of India that all outstanding issues with Pakistan could be discussed only bilaterally. “Any engagement with Pakistan will require an end to cross border terrorism,” he said, adding Shimla and Lahore accords signed between India and Pakistan provide the basis for resolution of all issues bilaterally.
Jaishankar noted that on Monday the US President had in his talks with Khan stated that he is ready to mediate on the Kashmir issue, if requested.
“No such request was made to the US President,” he said adding his statement on the floor of the House should leave no confusion in minds of countrymen.
Opposition demands Modi’s response
Meanwhile, the Opposition, led by the Congress, on Tuesday demanded a clarification from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on US President Donald Trump’s stunning claim that the leader had requested him to mediate on the Kashmir dispute.
If what Trump claims is true, Modi has betrayed India’s interests, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said, a sentiment backed by several Opposition leaders who spoke out in Parliament and outside.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar made a statement on the floor of both Houses of Parliament and strongly rejected Trump’s comment during a meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in Washington.
On Monday night, the Ministry of External Affairs issued a strong denial, saying it has been India’s consistent position that all outstanding issues with Pakistan are discussed only bilaterally.
Opposition parties were, however, not satisfied and wanted Modi to come to both the Houses and clarify.
Rahul Gandhi also asserted that a “weak” foreign ministry denial wouldn’t do and the prime minister must tell the nation what transpired in the meeting between him and the US president.
The issue rocked the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha with frequent disruptions as Opposition members vociferously put forth their demand.
As soon as the Lower House met for the day, members from the Congress and some other Opposition parties were on their feet shouting slogans over the issue.
Later, when Zero Hour began, Congress’ Manish Tewari said the prime minister himself should clarify since Trump’s statement is serious.
Echoing him, AIADMK’s T R Baalu said Modi should personally make a statement since the issue involved him.
When Jaishankar rose to make a statement, it was drowned in protests by the entire opposition. The opposition then walked out of proceedings.
In the Upper House, too, there were heated exchanges between opposition benches and Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu, who adjourned proceedings. The Rajya Sabha was repeatedly adjourned amid opposition uproar over Trump’s comment.
The Congress welcomed the government’s reiteration of India’s ‘no third party involvement’ stand on the Kashmir issue but asked why Modi was “mum” over Trump’s claim.
The US president’s remarks “relate to a meeting between him and PM Modi, wherein our PM had asked him to mediate”, Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said in a tweet.
“Why is PM ‘mum’ on what transpired between the two heads of states, more so when it affects our sovereignty?” Surjewala asked.
Opposition leaders met in his colleague Ghulam Nabi Azad’s chamber in Parliament and called for suspension of all business. They also sought an explanation from the PM in both the Houses on Trump’s statement.
Various opposition leaders addressed a press conference on the issue.
Flanked by Opposition leaders, including CPI’s D Raja, NCP’s Majeed Menon, DMK’s Tiruchi Siva, SP’s Ramgopal Yadav and AAP’s Sanjay Singh, Azad said his party was ready to believe the prime minister’s side of the story but he should clarify the issue on the floor of the House.
Trump, the leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha added, was unlikely to have made the remarks in jest.
“No matter which government was in power at Centre in past, our foreign policy has been that Kashmir is bilateral issue and no third party can intervene and President Trump knows it, I don’t think President Trump would tell Pakistan’s PM that India’s PM has asked the US to mediate,” Azad said.
The Trinamool Congress’ Derek O’Brien said his party wants the prime minister to make a statement on the issue to clear the air.
“Along with all opposition parties, we, Trinamool, have a simple demand. The PM of India has to come to Parliament, make a statement and clear the air,” he said.
Trump claims that Modi asked him to mediate on the Kashmir issue when they met in Osaka, Japan, on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit last month.
“If I can help, I would love to be a mediator. If I can do anything to help, let me know,” Trump said in response to a question, adding he is ready to help, if the two countries ask for it.
“I was with Prime Minister Modi two weeks ago and we talked about this subject (Kashmir). And he actually said, ‘would you like to be a mediator or arbitrator?’ I said, ‘where?’ (Modi said) ‘Kashmir’,” Trump said
Pakistan Surprised by Indian reactions
Meanwhile, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday said that he was “surprised” by India’s reaction to US President Donald Trump’s offer of mediation for resolving the Kashmir issue which, according to him, has held the subcontinent hostage for 70 years.
“Surprised by reaction of India to Pres Trump’s offer of mediation to bring Pak & India to dialogue table for resolving Kashmir conflict which has held subcontinent hostage for 70 yrs,” Khan, who was on a three-day working visit, tweeted at the end of his maiden trip to the US.
“Generations of Kashmiris have suffered and are suffering daily and need conflict resolution,” he tweeted.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan told US President Donald Trump that normal ties with India would be beneficial for both the countries, asserting that a “peaceful neighbourhood” was a priority of his foreign policy, according to officials.
Make Kashmir a peace zone: Farooq Abdullah
Jammu and Kashmir National Conference president and Member Parliament Dr Farooq Abdullah on Tuesday congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi for seeking intervention of United States President Donald Trump in solving the protracted issue of Jammu and Kashmir and asked world powers to make Kashmir a peace zone.
The NC president said, “It is indeed a welcome step to see the Prime Minister (Modi) make sincere efforts to solve the issue that has been lingering around for more than seven decades.”
“Any mediation in conflict resolution is not a new approach; it is one of the traditional means of diplomacy that affords the two conflict ridden countries reach to a suitable solution.”
Welcoming any move which is aimed to bring long-lasting peace and stability to the sub-continent, Dr Farooq said, “It is high time for India and Pakistan to shun hostilities because at the end its people of our state who face the direct brunt of such hostilities. It’s our people who come in the line of fire whenever there is friction between India and Pakistan and therefore continue to remain mired within the strained Indo-Pak relationship. The issue of Kashmir in fact led to multiples wars between the two countries and escalated tensions from time to time. The people of the state want an end to all rounds of violence and fresh round of political maneuvers that would satisfy the aspirations of the people of the state besides affording a win-win situation for both India and Pakistan,
Party’s members of Parliament Muhammad Akbar Lone, Hasnain Masoodi have also welcomed the courageous move of Prime Minister Modi saying the need of the hour called for strengthening his efforts towards solving the protracted issue of J&K.
Hurriyat welcomes mediation offer
Chairman of Kashmiri Hurriyat Conference , Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Tuesday welcomed the US President Donald Trump’s mediation offer on Kashmir, saying Hurriyat would extend its full
“Being the most affected party people of #Kashmir want an early resolution to the lingering Kashmir conflict. Been urging for dialogue at all levels. Every effort, pushing India and Pakistan in that direction @POTUS is welcome by the people of J&K,” Mirwaiz wrote on Twitter.
Meanwhile, in a statement issued in Srinagar , the Hurriyat emphasized that Kashmir was a political and humanitarian issue, lingering for the past seven decades, and needs to be resolved keeping both these concerns in mind.
PPP hails Trump’s offer
People’s Political Party (PPP) Chairman and senior leader All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) Engineer Hilal Ahmad War Tuesday welcomed the statement of US President Donald Trump offering his mediation on Kashmir issue between India and Pakistan.
“While hailing the statement of US President, Donald Trump wherein he said that it is an honour for him to play a role as a third party mediation and would use his good office between Indian and Pakistan to resolve all outstanding issues including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir, War urged global leaders to follow the suit of Donald Trump,” a written statement issued by PPP said.
“It will put to end decades-long political uncertainty, perpetual strife and endless pain and miseries suffered by people of this ill-fated region,” the statement said, adding resources of both the countries can be put to use for development of its people rather than to help the arms industry of others. The statement said Hurriyat was in favor of a peaceful resolution of Kashmir issue. “The United States and all other nations can play a role in asking both the neighbors to talk and resolve the festering Kashmir conflict once for all,” the statement said.

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