India doubles down on rejection of Trump’s offer to mediate on standoff with China
The Indian government on Friday doubled down on its rejection of US President Donald Trump’s offer to mediate on the border standoff with China, with people familiar with developments dismissing the American leader’s contention he had discussed the face-off with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The people cited above, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the most recent conversation between Modi and Trump had been on April 4, when the US request for supply of hydroxychloroquine to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic was the subject of the discussions.
The clarification came hours after Trump reiterated his offer to mediate between India and China to resolve a standoff between the border troops of the two countries during a briefing at the White House early on Friday (Indian time).
The external affairs ministry had on Thursday tacitly rejected Trump’s initial offer to mediate, made through a tweet on Wednesday, by saying India is directly engaged with China to peacefully resolve the standoff.
“There has been no recent contact between Prime Minister Modi and President Trump. The last conversation between them was on April 4 on the subject of hydroxychloroquine,” said one of the people cited above.
“Yesterday [Thursday], the external affairs ministry had made it clear that we are directly in touch with the Chinese through established mechanisms and diplomatic contacts,” the person added.
This is the second time that New Delhi has called out such a claim by Trump regarding mediation between India and another country. In July 2019, India had dismissed Trump’s remarks, at a joint news briefing along with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, that Modi had asked him to help resolve the Kashmir issue.
At that time to, Trump contended he had spoken directly with Modi about Kashmir. “And he actually said, ‘Would you like to be a mediator, or arbitrator? I said ‘Where?’, and he said ‘Kashmir, because this has been going on for many many years’,” Trump had said at the time.