Saturday, Oct 01, 2022

Trump's Kashmir Remark: Seize Opportunity To Forge Peace Through Dialogue, Says Mehbooba

US President Donald Trump's remark that he was asked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to be a 'mediator' in the long-standing Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan has created a massive controversy

NC's Omar Abdullah and PDP's Mehbooba Mufti File Photo

US President Donald Trump's remark that he was asked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to be a "mediator" in the long-standing Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan has created a massive controversy as it is a core part of India's foreign policy to oppose third-party mediation and has always insisted to solve the issue bilaterally.

This remark was made by Trump during a meet with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan.

While Ministry of External Affairs was quick to categorically deny the statements made by President Trump, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday reiterated that India was firm on solving the issue as per the Shimla and Lahore accords which provided for the issue to be resolved bilaterally.

"I would like to categorically state that no such request has been made by the Prime Minister to the US President," he said. 

The controversy, which created an uproar today in the Upper House, with "PM Jawab do Jawab do" slogans being raised- has prompted the main political leadership of Kashmir to speak out.  

Also Read: President Trump's Kashmir Mediation Comment 'Amateurish, Embarrassing': US Congressman

National Conference vice president and former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir,  Omar Abdullah, in a tweet suggested that Trump's claim holds no water yet at the same time wanted an official response from the government. He acknowledged that the government was in a catch 22 situation -- for either they have to admit that PM Modi did request Trump to mediate or they would openly have to call out Trump as a liar--something that India would not wish to do as it would hamper Indo-US ties.

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.

— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) July 22, 2019

He added:

Is Govt of India going to call @realDonaldTrump a liar or has there been an undeclared shift in India’s position on third party involvement in #Kashmir?

— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) July 22, 2019

On the contrary, Peoples Democratic Party leader and former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti, however, said that the occasion is a huge "opportunity" to forge "peace" in the state. She said that even though the US does not have any precedent of solving critical issues, the statement from Trump is a "huge policy shift".

Despite GOI refuting the idea of third party mediation on J&K, the disclosure made by Trump marks a huge policy shift. Even though the USA doesn’t hold a great record in resolving protracted conflicts, hope both countries seize this opportunity to forge peace through dialogue.

— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) July 23, 2019

National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah commented that "it is good if PM Modi talked to Trump" and also lauded him for "doing everything to solve the issue."

"It is a matter of happiness that when PM Modi talked to Trump he had told him that Kashmir issue is complex & if there can be some help it would be good. I congratulate Modi ji, he too wants to use everything to solve this issue that is creating tensions between India & Pakistan," ANI quoted him as saying.

Also Read: Kashmir Bilateral Issue Between India, Pakistan; We Are Ready To Assist: US On Trump's Comment

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has also openly welcomed Trump's idea of mediation.

Opposition in India mainly the Congress, however, has demanded that the controversy is huge and the PM Modi should deliver a statement to clear the air. Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said that asking a "foreign power" to mediate in Jammu and Kashmir is a "sacrilegious betrayal of country’s interests."

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi took to Twitter and wrote: "President Trump says PM Modi asked him to mediate between India & Pakistan on Kashmir!

"If true, PM Modi has betrayed India’s interests & 1972 Shimla Agreement," he said.

"A weak Foreign Ministry denial won’t do. The PM must tell the nation what transpired in the meeting between him &  @POTUS," he added.