Donald Trump has caused a potentially awkward encounter between the leaders of India and Pakistan after he claimed Indian prime minister Narendra Modi asked him to mediate the enduring Kashmir conflict with Pakistan.
However India has denied that it asked him to do such a thing.
Trump had his first face-to-face meeting with Pakistan’s prime minister Imran Khan on Monday at the Oval office, where they discussed a number of subjects including the hotly contested Kashmir region.
When prime minister Khan asked if the US could help in the 70-year long dispute, he said: “Only the most powerful state headed by president Trump can bring the two countries together”.
Trump responded: “So I was with prime minister Modi two weeks ago and we talked about this subject and he actually said, ‘Would you like to be a mediator, or arbitrator?’”
I said 'where?' He said: 'Kashmir, because this has been going on for many, many years.'
If I can help, I would love to be a mediator.
India vehemently denied that this was the case. The foreign ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar wrote on Twitter: We have seen @POTUS’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 PM @narendramodi to US president”.
It has been India’s consistent position, that all outstanding issues with Pakistan are discussed only bilaterally.
Omar Abdullah, a grandson of Sheikh Abdullah, Kashmir’s first political leader and former chief minister of Indian-controlled Kashmir, said on Twitter:
Personally I think @realDonaldTrump is talking out of his hat when he says @PMOIndia asked for US involvement in solving the Kashmir issue.
The leader of the Indian Congress, Shashi Tharoor criticised the US president for not having "the slightest idea of what he's talking about"
Author and journalist Nidhi Razdan said this put India in an “awkward” position
Upon hearing of this, many Americans were embarrassed