New Delhi: The US State Department on Tuesday welcomed President Donald Trump’s offer of mediation to ‘help resolve the Kashmir dispute‘, saying that they were ready to assist in the matter. “While Kashmir is a bilateral issue for both parties to discuss, the Trump administration welcomes Pakistan and India sitting down and the United States stands ready to assist,” the US State Department spokesperson told news agency ANI.

The spokesperson asserted that any successful dialogue between India and Pakistan was based on the latter’s sustained and irreversible steps against terrorists on its territory. “We believe foundation for any successful dialogue between India and Pakistan is based on Pak taking sustained and irreversible steps against terrorists on its territory. These actions are in line with PM Khan’s stated commitments and Pak’s international obligations,” he added.

Furthermore, he said that the US will continue to support efforts to reduce tensions between the two neighbours.  “We will continue to support efforts that reduce tensions and create an environment conducive for dialogue. This first and foremost means tackling the menace of terrorism. As the President indicated, we stand ready to assist,” the spokesperson stated.  (Also read: Shashi Tharoor Hits Out at Trump Over Attack on Hindu Priest)

Earlier on Monday, Trump offered to ‘mediate the resolution with India over Kashmir’ and went on to claim that PM Narendra Modi asked him to ‘help resolve the Kashmir dispute’.

“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,” Trump had said yesterday.

“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.

The Central government has, however, rebuffed Trump’s offer to mediate on the Kashmir issue, saying that PM Modi had 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 Simla Agreement & the Lahore Declaration provide the basis to resolve all issues between India & Pakistan bilaterally,” he added.