New Delhi: US President Donald Trump’s offer last July to mediate between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir dispute might have expedited the Modi government’s decision to abrogate Article 370 and bifurcate the state, according to a recent report by US Congressional Research Service (CRS).
The report published ahead of Trump’s visit claims that US President’s offer prompted quick reaction from the Indian government and within weeks the special status for the state of J&K was removed.
“In July 2019, while taking questions from the press alongside visiting Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, President Trump claimed that Indian Prime Minister Modi had earlier in the month asked the United States to play a mediator role in the Kashmir dispute…. such a request would represent a dramatic policy reversal for India,” according to the report.
“The U.S. President’s statement provoked an uproar in India’s Parliament, with opposition members staging a walkout and demanding explanation. Quickly following Trump’s claim, Indian External Affairs Minister Jaishankar assured parliamentarians that no such request had been made, and he reiterated India’s position that “all outstanding issues with Pakistan are discussed only bilaterally” and that future engagement with Islamabad “would require an end to cross border terrorism.”
“In an apparent effort to reduce confusion, a same-day social media post from the State Department clarified the U.S. position that “Kashmir is a bilateral issue for both parties to discuss” and the Trump Administration “stands ready to assist,” the report claimed.
India has always rejected any third party mediation and repudiated any intervention by UN too.
A release from the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Representative Engel, reiterated support for “the longstanding U.S. position” on Kashmir, affirmed that the pace and scope of India-Pakistan dialogue is a bilateral determination, and called on Pakistan to facilitate such dialogue by taking “concrete and irreversible steps to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure on Pakistan’s soil.”, according to the report.
An August 2 meeting of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Jaishankar in Thailand saw the Indian official directly convey to his American counterpart that any discussion on Kashmir, “if at all warranted,” would be strictly between India and Pakistan.
“President Trump’s seemingly warm reception of Pakistan’s leader, his desire that Pakistan help the United States “extricate itself” from Afghanistan, and recent U.S. support for an International Monetary Fund bailout of Pakistan elicited disquiet among many Indian analysts. They said Washington was again conceptually linking India and Pakistan, “wooing” the latter in ways that harm the former’s interests. Trump’s Kashmir mediation claims were especially jarring for many Indian observers, some of whom began questioning the wisdom of Modi’s confidence in the United States as a partner. The episode may have contributed to India’s August moves,” the report claimed.
Courtesy: Economic Times