Trump still wants to 'help' India, Pak with Kashmir issue: Imran Khan
23 January 2020
US President Donald Trump has said that the US is watching the developments between India and Pakistan over Kashmir “very closely” and repeated his offer to “help” resolve the longstanding dispute, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said after he met President Trump on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in the Swiss ski resort.
Addressing the media with the Pakistan Prime Minister prior to their private meeting on Tuesday, President Trump, however, asserted that trade and borders were both critical points for discussion, while Khan said that for him Afghanistan was the top priority.
Referring Khan as “my friend,” Trump said he would speak to Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the ongoing Kashmir issue. The US President is expected to visit India in the coming weeks, marking his first visit after taking up his post in the White House.
“What’s going on between Pakistan and India…if we can help, we certainly will be willing to. We have been watching it very closely and it’s an honour to be here with my friend,” Trump said.
“The Pakistan-India conflict is a very big issue for us in Pakistan and we expect the US to always play its part in deescalating the tensions, because no other country can,” Khan said.
Pakistan has repeatedly approached Trump who was also keen to mediate following India’s 5 August decision to revoke the special status to Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcate the state into two union territories, which Pakistan has been trying to internationalise.
For New Delhi, however, the change of status of Kashmir is strictly an internal matter as Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India.
In fact, according to the government of India, it was the provisions under the Article 370 of the Constitution that proved to be the bane of the Valley, giving rise to external interventions and the growth of militancy in the state.
“The country took the decision of abrogation of Article 370, which had only given separatism and terrorism to that state,” Prime Minister Modi had said in October.
New Delhi has also clearly told Washington in the past that issues over Kashmir raised by Pakistan is a bilateral matter and there is no scope for any third-party mediation.
Modi, while interacting with the media alongside President Trump on the sidelines of the G7 summit in the French town of Biarritz in August last year, had categorically rejected any scope for third-party mediation on Kashmir.
“We don’t want to trouble any third country,” Modi had said.
This was the third meeting between Trump and Khan since the Pakistan premier assumed office in 2018, and New Delhi said it would rather ignore Pakistan raking up the issue.
Pakistan is trying to bargain with the United States amid reports that the US and Afghan Taliban were close to striking a peace deal. US needs Pakistan’s help to enforce the deal.
Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had also made a trip to Washington recently.
“There are issues we want to talk about. The main issue is Afghanistan because it concerns the US and Pakistan. Fortunately, we are on the same page. Both of us are interested in peace there and an orderly transition in Afghanistan with talks with Taliban and the government,” Khan said.