Interacting with media at the White House in Washington on Tuesday, President Trump described the situation in Kashmir as “complicated and explosive” and offered to mediate between New Delhi and Islamabad for the second time in less than two months.
"Kashmir is a very complicated place. You have the Hindus and you have the Muslims, and I wouldn't say they get along so great. And that's what you have right now. We are helping the situation. There are tremendous problems between those two countries (India and Pakistan) and I will do the best I can to mediate or do something. It is a complicated situation. A lot has to do with religion. Religion is a complicated subject,” President Trump was quoted as saying by the Times of India.
President Trump said he would be meeting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the 45th G7 Summit in France this weekend and would offer his help to defuse the crisis in Kashmir again.
#WATCH Washington DC:US President Donald Trump reacts on Kashmir issue, says "...There are tremendous problems between those 2 countries. I'll do the best I can to mediate or do something. Great relationship with both of them. But they aren't exactly friends at this moment"(20.8) pic.twitter.com/DiZrn4u5Mq— ANI (@ANI) August 21, 2019
Trump’s latest mediation offer was prompted by New Delhi's decision earlier this month to revoke Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution, which had had granted a special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir for seven decades.
Last month, during his bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan at the White House, President Trump had revealed that Prime Minister Modi had asked him to mediate on Kashmir and at that point in time, to which Trump responded, “If I can help, I would love to be a mediator.”
This created a political storm in India and sparked a heated debate in the Indian legislature. India’s Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar had to categorically state that Prime Minister Modi had never asked President Trump to mediate on Kashmir and emphasised that third-party involvement was not required.
Soon after President Trump’s remarks, the US State Department said in a post on Twitter, “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.”
Earlier this week, Trump had had separate telephone conversations with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and Indian Prime Minister Modi on the Kashmir issue. While Prime Minister Khan reiterated the urgent need for third-party mediation, Prime Minister Modi emphasised that Islamabad must tone down its rhetoric on Kashmir and focus on eliminating terror networks in Pakistan and prevent them from attacking India.
The US and most of the other countries, including those located in the Gulf region, agree that talks between New Delhi and Islamabad have to be based on bilateral agreements between both countries.
Kashmir has been a bone of contention between India and Pakistan since the countries gained freedom from British colonial rule in 1947. Both govern part of the region but claim it in full, and have fought two wars to determine its fate.