A massive political storm erupted in the country after US President Donald Trump, during a press conference with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, claimed that PM Narendra Modi had asked him to mediate the Kashmir dispute.
"I was with Prime Minister Modi, 2 weeks ago and we talked about this subject and he actually said would you like to be a mediator or arbitrator. I said where? He said Kashmir. Because this has been going on for many many years...They (India) would like to see it resolved, you (Imran Khan) would like to see it resolved. If could help, I would love to be a mediator," Trump said.
Reacting to the US President’s claim, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah questioned whether there has been an “undeclared shift” in India’s Kashmir policy.
“Is Govt of India going to call Donald Trump a liar or has there been an undeclared shift in India’s position on third party involvement in Kashmir?” he wrote on Twitter.
Several other Opposition leaders also attacked the government and asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to rebut the US President’s public statement.
“What does this say about our long-held position of sovereignty over the Indian state of J&K, as defined in the Shimla Agreement? Will our twitter-friendly PM have the courage to rebut the US President who has made a public statement?” CPM leader Sitaram Yechury said.
The main Opposition party Congress said that India has always been against third party mediation and asking a foreign country to mediate in Kashmir was a “sacrilegious betrayal” of national interests.
“India has never accepted third party mediation in Jammu & Kashmir! To ask a foreign power to mediate in J&K by PM Modi is a sacrilegious betrayal of country’s interests,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said.