President Donald Trump "does not make up things", a top presidential advisor said on Tuesday when asked about a question on his stunning claim that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked him to mediate on the Kashmir issue, remarks which has been strongly refuted by India.
It is "a very rude question," Trump's ChiefEconomic Advisor Larry Kudlow told reporters at the White House when ajournalist following up on the president's remarks asked if it was made up.
"The president doesn't make things up," Kudlowsaid.
A day earlier, Trump offered to be the "mediator"between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue as he met Prime Minister ImranKhan at the White House.
Trump had claimed that Prime Minister Modi asked him tomediate on Kashmir when they met in Osaka, Japan on the sidelines of the G20Summit last month.
India has not been engaging with Pakistan since an attack onthe Air Force base at Pathankot in January of 2016 by Pakistan-based militants,maintaining that talks and violence cannot go together.
Kashmir a bilateral issue between India, Pak: US
Meanwhile, the Trump administration launched a damagecontrol exercise after the President's remarks about mediation on Kashmir, withthe State Department on Tuesday saying it was a "bilateral" issuebetween India and Pakistan, and the US "welcomes" the two countries"sitting down" for talks.
It also said Pakistan taking "sustained andirreversible" steps against terrorism is key to a successful dialogue withIndia.
"While Kashmir is a bilateral issue for both parties todiscuss, the Trump administration welcomes Pakistan and India sitting down andthe United States stands ready to assist," a State Department spokespersontold PTI in response to a question if Donald Trump's remarks reflect a changein the country's policy on Kashmir.
India has already rejected Trump's claim that Prime MinisterNarendra Modi sought his mediation on the Kashmir issue.
For more than a decade, the US has consistently insistedthat Kashmir is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan and it is for thetwo countries to decide on the nature and scope of the dialogue.
"We believe the foundation for any successful dialoguebetween India and Pakistan is based on Pakistan taking sustained andirreversible steps against militants and terrorists on its territory. Theseactions are in line with Prime Minister (Imran) Khan's stated commitments, andPakistan's international obligations," the State Department spokespersonsaid.
"We will continue to support efforts that reducetensions and create an environment conducive for dialogue. This first andforemost means tackling the menace of terrorism. As the President indicated, westand ready to assist," the spokesperson said in response to a question.
Meanwhile, the White House said that the US is ready toassist on the Kashmir issue.
"As the President made clear, the United States stands ready to assist if requested by both India and Pakistan," a senior administration official told PTI. On Monday, Trump stunned India by saying that Prime Minister Modi, during the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, sought his help in resolving the Kashmir issue. PTI