The Indian government has categorically denied Donald Trump's claim that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked him to mediate on Kashmir issue, but this isn't the first time the US President has offered to resolve the decades-long dispute.
In October 2016, Trump had described the India-Pakistan relations as a "very, very hot tinderbox" and had said he would "love to be the mediator or arbitrator."
"Well, I would love to see Pakistan and India get along, because that’s a very, very hot tinderbox... That would be a very great thing. I hope they can do it," Trump had told Hindustan Times in an interview dated October 16, 2016.
When asked if he would play a role to ease tensions, Trump said, "If it was necessary I would do that. If we could get India and Pakistan getting along, I would be honoured to do that. That would be a tremendous achievement... I think if they wanted me to, I would love to be the mediator or arbitrator.”
India's opposes third-party mediation on Kashmir-- the main issue of contention with neighbouring Pakistan.
Trump's predecessor Barack Obama had also suggested in 2008 that Washington "should probably try to facilitate a better understanding between Pakistan and India and try to resolve the Kashmir crisis", the HT report said.
Now, the US has returned to its traditional position in the Kashmir dispute saying that it was "ready to assist" and it was for India and Pakistan to resolve it.
“We believe the foundation for any successful dialogue between India and Pakistan is based on Pakistan taking sustained and irreversible steps against militants and terrorists on its territory,” said a US state department spokesperson.
The spokesperson also said that while “Kashmir is a bilateral issue for both parties to discuss, the Trump administration welcomes Pakistan and India sitting down and the United States stands ready to assist”.
First Published: IST