New Delhi, July 23: The Congress along with other opposition parties demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should clarify whether there has been a shift in India’s position of no third party involvement in the Kashmir issue after US President Donald Trump offered to mediate between India and Pakistan on the matter.
Trump’s offer to mediate on the Kashmir issue came as he met Prime Minister Imran Khan at the White House where the two leaders discussed a host of issues.
India denied Trump’s claim that Modi had asked him to mediate in resolving the Kashmir issue with Pakistan.
External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted, “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.”
Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said India has never accepted third party mediation in Jammu and Kashmir.
“To ask a foreign power to mediate in J&K by PM Modi is a sacrilegious betrayal of country’s interests. Let PM answer to the Nation!,” he tweeted.
In another tweet, Surjewala said it is “deeply disturbing and distressing” the claim by Trump that PM Modi made a “request to him for mediation on Kashmir”.
“No Indian PM has ever dared to breach the cardinal principle of ‘no third party mediation’ in terms of 1972 Simla Agreement. Why is PM mum?” he said.
Kumar, in another tweet, said 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,” he said.
Trump, who is known to make inaccurate statements, claimed that Modi asked him to mediate on the Kashmir issue.
“I honestly don’t think Trump has the slightest idea of what he’s talking about. He has either not been briefed or not understood what (Prime Minister) Modi was saying or what India’s position is on 3rd-party mediation. That said, MEA should clarify that Delhi has never sought his intercession,” senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor tweeted earlier.
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on Monday wondered whether the Indian government will call the US President a liar or there has been a shift in India’s position on third party involvement in dispute.
“Personally I think @realDonaldTrump is talking out of his hat when he says @PMOIndia asked for US involvement in solving the Kashmir issue but I’d like to see @MEAIndia call Trump out on his claim,” Abdullah tweeted.
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury asked whether “our twitter-friendly PM” has the courage to rebut the US president who has made a public statement.
“What does this say about our long-held position of sovereignty over the Indian state of J&K, as defined in the Simla Agreement?” he said.
“India has always maintained its a bilateral issue, with no scope for third-party interference. What is this government upto?” Yechury asked.
Khan welcomed Trump’s remarks and said if the US agrees, prayers of more than a billion people will be with him.
India maintains that the Kashmir issue is a bilateral one and no third party has any role.
India has not been engaging with Pakistan since an attack on the Air Force base at Pathankot in January of 2016 by Pakistan-based terrorists, maintaining that talks and terror cannot go together. (PTI)