India on Friday rejected U.S. President Donald Trump's offer to mediate its dispute with Pakistan over Kashmir.
India’s Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar conveyed to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that any discussion on Kashmir will only be with Pakistan and only bilaterally. They met on Friday on the sidelines of a ministerial meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Bangkok, Thailand.
“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,” Jaishankar tweeted.
The statement came after Trump told reporters on Thursday that he was ready to assist if the two countries wanted him to help in resolving the Kashmir dispute.
"I think they are fantastic people Khan and Modi -- I mean. I would imagine they could get along very well, but if they wanted somebody to intervene, to help them and I spoke with Pakistan about that and I spoke frankly in (sic) India about it," local broadcaster News18 quoted Trump as saying in a news report.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi last night urged Washington to use its influence to court India for resumption of talks on the lingering Kashmir dispute.
“India on the one hand rejects mediation and insists that Kashmir is a bilateral issue but on the other, it is not willing to come to the table for negotiations”, Qureshi told local broadcaster Hum News.
India has long refused outside attempts to resolve the conflict, while Pakistan has repeatedly sought international help.
Last month Trump created a flutter in New Delhi by saying that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked him to mediate on the decades-long Kashmir dispute with Pakistan. The claim was rejected by New Delhi.
“If I can, if they wanted me to, I would certainly intervene," Trump further told a joint press conference in Washington alongside visiting Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan.
While Trump's offer to mediate in the Kashmir dispute was welcomed in Pakistan, it triggered a controversy in India, which claims that insurgency in the Muslim-majority Himalayan state is its internal affair.
Jammu and Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full.
Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars -- in 1948, 1965 and 1971 -- two of them over Kashmir.