Even as the US administration tried to control the damage done by President Donald Trump over his Kashmir mediation remark, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said the he must answer the nation. â€œPresident Trump says PM Modi asked him to mediate between India & Pakistan on Kashmir! If true, PM Modi has betrayed Indiaâ€™s interests & 1972 Shimla Agreement. A weak Foreign Ministry denial wonâ€™t do. PM must tell the nation what transpired in the meeting between him & @POTUS (sic),â€ Gandhi said on Twitter.
President Trump says PM Modi asked him to mediate between India & Pakistan on Kashmir!â€” Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) July 23, 2019
If true, PM Modi has betrayed Indiaâ€™s interests & 1972 Shimla Agreement.
A weak Foreign Ministry denial wonâ€™t do. PM must tell the nation what transpired in the meeting between him & @POTUS
Earlier in the day, the Congress welcomed the government's reiteration of India's "no third party involvement" stand on the Kashmir issue but asked why Modi was "mum" over Trump's claim. Meanwhile, the Ministry of External Affairs has rejected Trump's remarks, made during his meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, that Modi had asked him to mediate in resolving the Kashmir issue with Pakistan.
â€œI would like to categorically assure the House that no such request has been made by PM Modi.â€ Jaishankar said. He also added that, â€œIt has been India's consistent position that all outstanding issues with Pakistan are discussed only bilaterally. Any engagement with Pakistan would require an end to cross-border terrorism.â€ He also stressed on the fact that â€œthe Shimla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration provide the basis to resolve all issues between India and Pakistan bilaterally.â€
Following the protest by India, the US State Department on Tuesday said Jammu and Kashmir is a â€œbilateralâ€ issue between India and Pakistan, and the US â€œwelcomesâ€ the two countries â€œsitting downâ€ for talks. It also said Pakistan taking â€œsustained and irreversibleâ€ steps against terrorism is key to a successful dialogue with India.
â€œWhile 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,â€ a State Department spokesperson told news agency PTI in response to a question if Trumpâ€™s remarks reflect a change in the countryâ€™s policy on Kashmir.