Trump dials Imran, says need to reduce tensions over J-K
United States President sought to make clear his priority was to reduce tensions in the region, thought it was not clear if he was working towards mediating their underlying key dispute as he has offered in recent days.Updated: Aug 21, 2019 00:45 IST
Shortly after Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised the issue of “extreme rhetoric and incitement to anti-India violence” not being conducive to peace in the region, President Donald Trump called Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to tell him “to reduce tensions and moderate rhetoric”.
In a flurry of developments starting with a phone call between Modi and Trump and followed by one between Trump and Khan, the United States President sought to make clear his priority was to reduce tensions in the region, thought it was not clear if he was working towards mediating their underlying key dispute as he has offered in recent days.
“Spoke to my two good friends, Prime Minister Modi of India, and Prime Minister Khan of Pakistan, regarding Trade, Strategic Partnerships and, most importantly, for India and Pakistan to work towards reducing tensions in Kashmir,” Trump wrote on Twitter Monday, referring to phone calls with Modi and Khan. “A tough situation, but good conversations!”
After the morning call with Modi, Trump spoke to Khan, for the second time in four days, to “discuss the need to reduce tensions and moderate rhetoric with India over the situation in Jammu and Kashmir”, the White House said about the call.
It added, “The President reaffirmed the need to avoid escalation of the situation, and urged restraint on both sides.”
PM Modi had spoken to President Trump about “extreme rhetoric” emanating from Pakistan, without naming it, and the American president had stressed the “importance” of reducing tensions between India and Pakistan and maintaining peace in the region, according to separate read-outs from the two sides.
Alyssa Ayres, a South Asia expert with the Council on Foreign Relations, welcomed President Trump’s calls, saying, “I believe it is a positive thing that the president called both PMs, urged Khan to dial down the rhetoric, and encouraged both to engage in dialogue which is in any case longstanding US policy.”
Husain Haqqani, a former Pakistan ambassador to the US and the director of South and Central Asia at Hudson Institute, was not impressed by Trump’s tweet though.
“It is classic President Trump. His tweets are based on the assumption that his personal interaction is all that other world leaders want or need,” he said, adding: “It hasn’t worked with (North Korea’s) Kim Jong Un, China’s leaders, or the Europeans. I doubt it will have a substantive impact on US South Asia policy apart from raising Pakistani hopes.”
First Published: Aug 21, 2019 00:03 IST