'Trump offered mediation as US wants improved Indo-Pak relations'

President Donald Trump offered his “assistance” to resolve the Kashmir issue as the US wants to see improved relations between Pakistan and India, a senior State Department official said Thursday.

The official, on the condition of anonymity, was responding to a question on the position of the US on the Kashmir issue after Trump last week offered to be the “mediator” between India and Pakistan on the issue during his meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan at the White House.

India firmly rejected Trump’s offer, saying that New Delhi’s consistent position has been that all outstanding issues with Pakistan are discussed only bilaterally.

“On Kashmir as I said, we would all like to see improved relations between India and Pakistan. That’s why you heard the president’s offer of assistance,” the official said.

“We recognise that Kashmir has been a bilateral issue but there are opportunities as Pakistan takes steps that build confidence in its own efforts to counter terrorism for their ultimately towards a constructive dialogue. We stand ready to assist if asked by the parties to do so,” the official said.

The official said the US welcomes Khan’s stated commitment that Pakistan for its own future will prevent the operation of all terror groups on its territory.

Pakistan Prime Minister’s visit to the US, the official said, was a chance for Khan to discuss how his government will bring his vision for both sides to confer on how the US can support Pakistan in this endeavour. 

“Of the US ability to encourage a constructive dialogue between India and Pakistan, whether on Kashmir or other bilateral issues will be a function of Pakistan taking sustained and irreversible steps against militants on its territory,” the official said. 

“We support Pakistan’s national action plan formed by all political parties after the horrific Peshawar school attack as well as Prime Minister Khan’s personal commitment that no militant groups should be able to operate from Pakistani soil,” the official said. “Obviously it’s in everyone’s interest to see improvement of relations between India and Pakistan. And the president’s offer was made in recognition of that fact,” the official said.