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The Congress on Tuesday welcomed the government's reiteration of India's 'no third party involvement' stand on the Kashmir issue but asked why Prime Minister Narendra Modi is "mum" over US President Donald Trump's claim that the Indian leader asked him to mediate on the matter.
India denied Trump's claim that Modi had asked him to mediate in resolving the Kashmir issue with Pakistan.
Trump's offer to mediate on the Kashmir issue came as he met Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan at the White House on Monday when the two leaders discussed a host of issues.
Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) 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. It has been India's consistent position...1/2— Raveesh Kumar (@MEAIndia) July 22, 2019
Reacting to the MEA's assertion, Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said reiteration of time tested line on 'no mediation on Kashmir' is welcome.
The US President's remarks "relate to a meeting between him and PM Modi, wherein our PM had asked him to mediate", he said in a tweet.
Reiteration of time tested line on ‘no mediation on Kashmir’ is welcome@POTUS remarks relate to a meeting between him & PM Modi, wherein our PM had asked him to mediate— Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) July 23, 2019
Why is PM ‘mum’ on what transpired between the two heads of states, more so when it affects our sovereignty? https://t.co/8JzTJbfsYP
In another tweet, he tagged the remarks of President Trump put out by the White House.
Now, ‘Whitehouse’ puts up @POTUS assertion in ‘black & white’ that PM Modi asked him to ‘mediate on Kashmir’!— Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) July 23, 2019
When will our PM ‘wake up’ & call the bluff if President Trump is lying?
Did PM Modi ask @POTUS to mediate?https://t.co/pFV8gnl6YQ
The Congress along with other opposition parties last night had demanded that Prime Minister Modi should clarify whether there has been a shift in India's position of no third party involvement in the Kashmir issue after Trump offered to mediate between India and Pakistan on the matter.
Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala had said India has never accepted third party mediation in Jammu and Kashmir. And he said that asking "foreign power" to mediate in Jammu and Kashmir is a "sacrilegious betrayal of country’s interests." He added that 'no-third party mediation' in Kashmir Issue-as accorded by 1972 Simla Agreement-is a "cardinal principle" that no Indian Prime Minister has ever dared to breach.
Raveesh Kumar, however, maintained that it has been India's consistent position that all outstanding issues with Pakistan are discussed only bilaterally.
Meanwhile, Rajya Sabha on Tuesday was adjourned till 2 PM, following an uproar by Opposition MPs where there were raising slogans of "Pradhanmantri jawab do,jawab do,jawab do"-seeking a reply from PM regarding this issue.
Trump, who is known to make inaccurate statements, claimed that Prime Minister Modi asked him to mediate on the Kashmir issue. Many leaders although claimed that the statements made by Trump hold no water yet they demanded that the MEA should at least issue a statement and clear the air.
Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor commented on twitter:
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 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. https://t.co/DxRpNu6vw2— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) July 22, 2019
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 the 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. https://t.co/JRlH4mehrp— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) July 22, 2019
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, on the other hand, welcomed Trump's remarks.
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.