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Tuesday, Oct 15, 2019

Lot of progress made in ties between India, Pakistan: Trump

Trump’s new remarks about “progress” left a lot of people wondering about what he meant, and people dealing with these matters have gone through the transcript for any hidden nuance or meaning.

india Updated: Sep 18, 2019 09:00 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington
Trump, who has offered to mediate India-Pakistan disputes, including Kashmir, did not elaborate.
Trump, who has offered to mediate India-Pakistan disputes, including Kashmir, did not elaborate.(HT FILE)
         

US President Donald Trump has said a “lot of progress” has been made in India-Pakistan relations and he looked forward to meeting leaders of both countries shortly.

Trump, who has offered to mediate India-Pakistan disputes, including Kashmir, did not elaborate.

“So, I will see Prime Minister Modi,” Trump told reporters on Monday in response to a question about the White House announcement about his participation in the “Howdy, Modi!” event in Houston on September 22. He added he “will be meeting both India and Pakistan”, referring to his upcoming meetings with Modi and Prime Minister Imran Khan in New York.

“And I think a lot of progress has been made there, lot of progress,” he said.

A response was awaited from the White House to a request for an explanation of what Trump meant given his recent offers to mediate between India and Pakistan dispute, which he has appeared to have given up after they were promptly rejected by New Delhi.

Modi also said after his meeting with Trump on the sidelines of the G-7 Summit in France that India doesn’t want to “bother” any other nation to resolve a bilateral problem.

Trump’s new remarks about “progress” left a lot of people wondering about what he meant, and people dealing with these matters have gone through the transcript for any hidden nuance or meaning. They suspect he was referring to easing of tensions between the two countries, something he had noted once before when he said the situation in the subcontinent was a “little bit less heated right now than it was two weeks ago”.

“Don’t read too much into it,” said one of those people involved in the discussions.

The Pakistani leader is expected, as part of his campaign to internationalise the Kashmir issue, to bring up Kashmir and seek Trump’s intervention once again as he did at their White House meeting in July.

In New Delhi, external affairs minister S Jaishankar told a news conference that Trump’s presence at the “Howdy, Modi!” event will be a message for the world and it is up to Pakistan what it wishes to read from it.

The India-US relationship has come a long way and is in “good health”, he said. It is a “matter of great honour” that Trump decided to attend the diaspora event, he added.

Asked whether Trump’s presence at the event would be a message for Pakistan, Jaishankar said there are going to be multiple messages. “And obviously it will be up to the Pakistanis to read what they wish to read and the same applies to other parts of the world,” he said.

Jaishankar, who served as Indian envoy to the US, said the Houston event is the third time Modi would be doing a major community programme in the US. “And I regard this as a great achievement of the India-American community,” he said.

“If today, there is an event of this size and you have someone like President Trump coming there, this shows where the community has reached, how it is regarded in the US, the respect it commands out there. It is obviously the achievement of the community,” he said.

“In my sense, it’s not just Pakistan, the whole world will be watching the Houston event and take lessons from there what Indian-Americans have achieved, what India-US state of relations are today.”

First Published: Sep 17, 2019 23:47 IST

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