Trump offers to mediate on Kashmir

US President Donald Trump on Monday offered to be the “mediator” between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue as he met Prime Minister Imran Khan at the White House where the two leaders discussed a host of issues.

India maintains that the Kashmir issue is a bilateral one and no third party has any role in it. “If I can help, I would love to be a mediator. If I can do anything to help, let me know,” Trump said in response to a question during his meeting with Prime Minister Khan in the Oval Office.

Trump said that he is ready to help, if the two countries ask for it.

India has not been engaging with Pakistan since an attack on the Air Force base at Pathankot in January of 2016 carried out by a Pakistan-based militant group .

“I think they (Indians) would like to see it resolved. I think you (Khan) would like to see it resolved. And if I can help, I would love to be a mediator. It should be….We have two incredible countries that are very, very smart with very smart leadership, (and they) can’t solve a problem like that. But if you would want me to mediate or arbitrate, I would be willing to do that,” Trump said.

“We have a very good relationship with India. I know that your relationship (with India) is strained a little bit, maybe a lot. But we will be talking about India… (it’s) a big part of our conversation today and I think maybe we can help intercede and do whatever we have to do. It’s something that can be brought back together. We will be talking about India and Afghanistan both,” Trump told Khan.

Trump, while addressing a press conference along with Khan said, “I was with Prime Minister Modi two weeks ago, and talking of the subject, and he said ‘would you like to be a mediator?’, and I asked where, and he said Kashmir’. I said if I could mediate, I will help.. I would love to help on Kashmir,” adding it is a “terrible situation in Kashmir.. bombs going off all the time”.

Before Trump answered, Imran Khan said: “I will be asking President Trump (about Kashmir), the US can play the most important role in bringing peace in the subcontinent, which is held hostage to the issue of Kashmir. The most powerful state, the US, can solve the problem,” he said, adding that he had made overtures for dialogue with India” but to no avail.

Trump added later, “Maybe I will speak to him (Modi), or maybe you can speak with him.”

Khan, who was sitting by Trump’s side in the Oval Office of the White House, said that he is ready and welcomed such a move by the US. “Right now, you would have the prayers of over a billion people if you can mediate (on Kashmir),” Khan told Trump.

Khan was accompanied by Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt Gen Faiz Hameed and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi among others.