Trump renews Kashmir mediation offer, says ball’s in Modi’s court

Monday, 05 Aug, 2019

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Friday urged the U.S. to persuade India to start mediation talks on the Kashmir issue. They met on Friday on the sidelines of a ministerial meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Bangkok, Thailand. "We should probably try to facilitate a better understanding between Pakistan and India and try to resolve the Kashmir crisis so that they can stay focused not on India but on the situation with those militants".

"Have they (India) accepted the offer or not?", Mr Trump was quoted saying, responding to a question on India rejecting his offer.

In Islamabad's diplomatic circles, President Trump's mediation offer is diplomatic setback for New Delhi. I would imagine they can get along really well.

Kashmir has always been a bone of contention between India and Pakistan. The US administration clarified that it welcomes India and Pakistan sitting down to resolve the "bilateral" issue and the "US stands ready to assist". It has been rejected as much out of hand as his previous one, while accompanied by a visiting Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, but it merely reflects an unwillingness by the rest of the world hostage to a dispute that India claims is bilateral. "They don't want to be seen to negotiate from a position of weakness", said Ambassador Ghalib Iqbal.

Guterres asked India and Pakistan to address their outstanding issues through talks amidst heightened tensions along the border.

But just when the debate on Trump's disclosure started to die down in India, President Trump reiterated his Kashmir mediation offer on Thursday.

Trump had set off a political storm in India by claiming during a meeting in Washington with Imran that Modi had asked him two weeks ago to mediate in the Kashmir dispute. People familiar with developments said the United States side had also checked its records of the Trump-Modi meeting in Osaka and verified there was "no mention of Kashmir" in the discussions. Pakistan recently called on its neighbour to engage in dialogue for a peaceful resolution to the issue but so far India has rebuffed the offers.

But it seems President Trump did not get an update on his offer, and was still waiting for response.

The Foreign Minister said India was avoiding the talks and did not appear willing to negotiate on the matter.

Since mid-2018, Indian Kashmir has been under Delhi's direct rule after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party withdrew support for its local partner and dissolved the local government.