Kashmir strictly a bilateral issue with Pak, Dr Jaishankar tells Pompeo

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Bangkok, Aug 2:  India on Friday categorically conveyed to the United States that Kashmir remains a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan and any dialogue on Kashmir “if at all warranted” will be held with Pakistan strictly ‘bilaterally’ between New Delhi and Islamabad.
“Have conveyed to American counterpart Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this morning in clear terms that any discussion on Kashmir, if at all warranted, will only be with Pakistan and only bilaterally,” External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar tweeted.
Dr Jaishankar and US Secretary of State Pompeo held wide range of discussions on regional issues at Bangkok in Thailand on the sidelines of ASEAN meet.
The clear missive from the External Affairs Minister comes within hours the US President had tried to do a face saving and damage control exercise when Donald Trump said on Thursday said it was up to India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue and then he would be ready to assist.
“It is really up to Prime Minister Narendra Modi (to accept the offer of mediation)”, Trump said.
Mr Trump’s statement comes days after the US President had made a statement claiming Prime Minister Modi had invited him to mediate in parleys between India and Pakistan on Kashmir situation.
“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 India about it,” Mr Trump said.
When asked how would he “want to resolve the Kashmir issue”, President Trump said, “If I can, if they wanted me to, I would certainly intervene.”
India had last month strongly denied Trump’s statement about PM Modi inviting him to speak on Kashmir situation and External Affairs Minister Dr Jaishankar made statement in both the Houses of Parliament said the Kashmir issue was never discussed between Modi and Trump.
UNI

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