US tries to save face after MEA response

Trump administration is trying its best to cover up and damage control after Trump’s remarks has irked India. In a strong refutal to Trump’s claim that PM of India Narendra Modi had asked him to be a mediator or arbitrator to resolve the kashmir issue, MEA India has said that prime minister had made no such request and “it has been India’s consistent position that all outstanding issues with Pakistan are discussed only bilaterally.” “Any engagement with Pakistan would require an end to cross border terrorism. The Shimla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration provide the basis to resolve all issues between India and Pakistan bilaterally,” the MEA statement added.

Hours after Trump’s remarks, US officials finessed his words to clarify that Washington still believes Kashmir is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan, and US stands ready only to assist the two parties. The State Department’s South Central Asia bureau that oversees US regional policy tweeted: While Kashmir is a bilateral issue for both parties to discuss, the Trump administration welcomes #Pakistan and India sitting down and the United States stands ready to assist.

This was followed by a fact-sheet issued by the White House at the end of conclusion of the Trump-Khan talks that also avoided all mention of Kashmir.

Congressman Brad Sherman, tweeted “Everyone who knows anything about foreign policy in South Asia knows that #India consistently opposes third-party mediation re #Kashmir. Everyone knows PM Modi would never suggest such a thing. Trump’s statement is amateurish and delusional. And embarrassing,” Further he tweeted saying that he had “ just apologized to Indian Ambassador @HarshShringla for Trump’s “amateurish and embarrassing mistake.”

Shashi Tharoor twitted ” I honestly don’t think Trump has the slightest idea of what he’s talking about. He has either not been briefed or not understood what Modi was saying or what India’s position is on 3rd-party mediation. That said, MEA should clarify that Delhi has never sought his intercession. “

Ed Luce, a Financial Times columnist once based in Asian sub continent tweeted “By offering to mediate on Kashmir, Trump said something deeply provocative to India, which has always refused 3rd party mediation. India is America’s most important “natural ally” in its rivalry with China. Hard to overstate the stupidity and ignorance of what Trump said,”

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