US mediation offer no more on table: Envoy

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump has made it clear that his offer of mediation on Kashmir is not on the table anymore, a top Indian diplomat said. India’s Ambassador to the US, Harsh Vardhan Shringla, said that America’s decades-old policy on Kashmir had been no mediation, but to encourage India and Pakistan to resolve their differences bilaterally.

US mediation offer no more on table: Envoy

Tom Suozzi

editorial@tribune.com

Washington, August 13

US President Donald Trump has made it clear that his offer of mediation on Kashmir is not on the table anymore, a top Indian diplomat said. India’s Ambassador to the US, Harsh Vardhan Shringla, said that America’s decades-old policy on Kashmir had been no mediation, but to encourage India and Pakistan  to resolve their differences bilaterally.

“President Trump has made it very clear that his offer to mediate on Jammu and Kashmir is dependent on both India and Pakistan accepting it. Since India has not accepted the offer, he has made it clear that this is not on the table anymore,” Shringla told Fox News.

 On July 22, during a joint media appearance with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan at the White House, President Trump had stunned India, saying PM Narendra Modi had sought his mediation/arbitration on the Kashmir issue. India asserted that no such request was made.

A week later, President Trump said he would “certainly intervene” between India and Pakistan on Kashmir if they wanted him to. He said it was up to India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue but he was ready to assist if the two South Asian neighbours wanted him to help in resolving the issue.

India made it clear to America that any discussion on the issue, if at all warranted, would only be with Pakistan and only bilaterally. 

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the ambassador said, was also very clear on the issue. “He says, this issue has to be resolved bilaterally between India and Pakistan, in keeping with the agreements that the two countries have signed: the Shimla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration.”

Responding to a question, Shringla said the measures taken by the Indian Government in Kashmir were temporary and preventive in nature. “When the decision was announced, we knew that there would be incitement to violence. We have simply taken preventive steps.

“The restrictions in Kashmir are being eased even as we speak. Tens of thousands of people came out to celebrate the festival of Eid. They went to mosques, prayed. Shops are open. There’s even traffic jams in  cities. We are progressively easing the restrictions,” Shringla added. — PTI

Congressman apologises for Kashmir letter to Pompeo

In an unprecedented move, a senior US Congressman has apologised to Indian-Americans for not consulting them before shooting off a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressing concern over the situation in Kashmir after India scrapped the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. n After India scrapped Article 370 of the Constitution, Congressman Tom Suozzi, in a letter to Pompeo on August 9, said, “These new restrictions on the autonomy of the state and the rights of Kashmiris could also embolden extremists and terrorists to act.” n In a statement after holding a meeting with Indian-Americans, Suozzi said, “On Sunday, I met 100 of my Indian-American constituents regarding my recent letter to Secretary Pompeo… Based upon my meeting, it is clear that it was a mistake to not consult some of my Indian-American friends and supporters before I sent the letter. I should have. I am sorry. If I had met with them before sending the letter, I would have framed my concerns differently.”

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