Hold on for PM Narendra Modi’s meet, says India on Trump’s Pakistan mediation remark
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar declined to comment on Trump’s offer except to stress that India’s stand on third-party mediation was known and asked journalists to wait for PM Modi’s meeting with Trump.Updated: Sep 24, 2019 13:12 IST
As US President Donald Trump again spoke about his willingness to mediate between India and Pakistan, India on Tuesday asserted that New Delhi’s position on third party mediation was well known and had been underlined in the past.
“Well, I think there is a meeting tomorrow between the Prime Minister and US President. Let us wait for the meeting,” A Gitesh Sarma, secretary (west) in the external affairs ministry told reporters.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is meeting President Donald Trump at 9.45 pm (IST) on Tuesday, their second meeting during the PM’s visit to the United States. The two leaders had made a joint appearance at the prime minister’s ‘Howdy Modi’ event in Houston over the weekend that New Delhi had described as unprecedented and historic.
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At the Houston event, Trump had vowed to fight “radical Islamic terrorism”, drawing loud applause from the 50,000-strong audience of American-Indians and later, at PM Modi’s request, received a standing ovation for his stance on terror.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan by his side at a media briefing, President Donald Trump deflected a direct question on Pakistan-based terror and again offered to mediate on the Kashmir issue if both countries wanted him to.
Trump did underscore that the two parties - India and Pakistan - had to agree to mediation, but appeared to believe that New Delhi might come around to it at some point.
“When they come... and at some point India may come. I have a very good relationship with Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi. I have a very good relationship with Prime Minister Khan,” he said, insisting that he was an “extremely good arbitrator” who had never failed in the past.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar declined to comment on Trump’s offer except to stress that India’s stand on third-party mediation was known and asked journalists to wait for PM Modi’s meeting with Trump.
New Delhi expects that the message from PM Modi’s meeting with Trump would clarify the US President’s offer and re-emphasise India’s rejection of any mediation effort with its neighbour.
It is also a message that New Delhi had expected would have already reached the White House. Well before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s started his US visit, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale had recalled the PM’s clear-cut stand at his meeting with President Trump.
“I think the Prime Minister has made it very clear in front of the media during the meeting with President Trump in Osaka that what India’s position is on this matter. I do not wish to add anything further, that is a very clear and comprehensive statement. India does not see a role for anybody in mediating on this matter,” Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale had said.