New Delhi: US President’s Donald Trump recent claim that PM Narendra Modi asked him to mediate between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue has created a ruckus in the Parliament. Though External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar ‘categorically assured’ the Rajya Sabha that no such request has been made by PM Modi, Oppostion MPs remained firm on their demand for PM Modi’s reply over Trump’s remarks. “When will our Prime Minister ‘wake up’ and call the bluff if President Trump is lying? Or did Prime Minister Modi ask POTUS (Donald Trump) to mediate?” Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said in a tweet .
Speaking in Rajya Sabha, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar, on the other hand, 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. I would like to categorically assure the House that no such request has been made by PM Modi.”
Vice President Venkiah Naidu also urged the House to not ‘politicise the issue’. “It is a national issue. Country’s unity, integrity & national interest is involved, we should be seen speaking in one voice,” Naidu told the upper House.
Addressing a press conference on Monday before his meeting with visiting Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in the White House, Trump had said: “I was with Prime Minister Modi two weeks ago, and we talked about the subject. And he actually said, ‘would you like to be a mediator, or arbitrator’, and I said ‘where?’, and he said ‘Kashmir’, because this has been going on for many, many years. I was surprised for how long it has been going on,” to which Imran Khan interjected to say, “70 years”.
“I think they (India) would like to see it resolved, and I think you (Pakistan) would like to see it resolved. And if I can help, I would love to be mediator,” the US President said.
Rejecting Trump’s claim, the government had said that PM Modi never made such a request to him, and stressed that all outstanding issues with Pakistan are “discussed only bilaterally”.
“We have seen the US President’s remarks to the press that he is ready to mediate, if requested by India and Pakistan, on the Kashmir issue. No such request has been made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the US President,” Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in a tweet.
“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 and Pakistan bilaterally,” he added.