Any discussion on Kashmir only with Pak: Jaishankar tells Pompeo

Rejecting any mediation by US President Donald Trump on Kashmir, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Friday made it clear to his American counterpart Mike Pompeo that any discussion on the issue, if at all warranted, will only be with Pakistan and only bilaterally.

Jaishankar is in the Thailand capital to attend a number of conferences, including the ASEAN-India Ministerial Meeting, the 9th East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, the 26th ASEAN Regional Forum and the 10th Mekong Ganga Cooperation Ministerial Meeting.

“Held wide ranging discussions with @SecPompeo on regional issues,” Jaishankar tweeted.

“Have conveyed to American counterpart @SecPompeo this morning in clear terms that any discussion on Kashmir, if at all warranted, will only be with Pakistan and only bilaterally,” he said in another tweet.

Jaishankar met Secretary of State Pompeo on the sidelines of the second day of 9th East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers meet in Bangkok. This was the first official meeting between the two top officials after President Trump’s controversial comments, offering to mediate between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir issue.

According to State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus, the two leaders discussed “our shared commitment to upholding the rule of law, freedom of navigation, and democratic values in the Indo-Pacific region.”

“The Secretary reaffirmed the positive trajectory of the U.S.-India strategic partnership,” Ortagus quoted Pompeo as saying. There was no mention of the Kashmir issue in her statement.

Last month, President Trump offered to be the “mediator” between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue when he met Prime Minister Imran Khan for the first time at the White House, triggering a controversy in India.

The Indian government dismissed President Trump’s claim that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked him to mediate on the Kashmir issue.

Pakistan Prime Minister Khan has said that he is ready and welcomed such a move by the US on the Kashmir issue.

Trump claimed that Modi and he discussed the issue of Kashmir in Osaka, Japan on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in June, where the Indian prime minister made an offer of a third-party arbitration on Kashmir.

In Parliament, External Affairs Minister Jaishankar said that all outstanding issues between India and Pakistan can be discussed only bilaterally and Prime Minister Modi made no request to President Trump to mediate on the Kashmir issue with Pakistan.

“Any engagement with Pakistan will require end to cross border terrorism,” he had said, adding Simla and Lahore accords provide the basis for resolution of all issues bilaterally. PTI

Pak urges US to “persuade” India to start talks on Kashmir

Meanwhile, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Friday urged the US to use its “influence” to “persuade” India to start talks on the peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue.

 Qureshi’s remarks came after US President Donald Trump said Kashmir was a bilateral matter between India and Pakistan but he would be happy to mediate if they want him to do so.

The Foreign Minister said India was avoiding the talks and did not appear willing to negotiate on the matter. “India insists it is a bilateral matter, but it is not even willing to come to the table for talks,” he told Geo News.

“India won’t agree easily to the Kashmir talks. (We urge) the US to exercise its influence and persuade India (to come to the table),” he said. Qureshi said he will also write a letter to the United Nations chief Antonio Guterres.