“President Trump does not make things up, Larry Kudlow White House Chief Economic adviser”
During the joint conference with Prime Minister Imran Khan at the White House, President Trump said that the Indian PM had asked him to mediate on Kashmir and that he would if both countries asked him to do so.
Shortly after the news conference, India rejected President Trump’s claim, declaring that PM Modi never asked for mediation as New Delhi maintains the traditional policy of only having bilateral talks with Pakistan.
The White House however, strongly defended President Trump. It’s “a very rude question” said Larry Kudlow Chief Economic Adviser. when asked at a White House briefing on Tuesday afternoon if the US president “made up” the comments he attributed to PM Modi. “The president doesn’t make things up.
An official White House transcript of the Trump-Khan news conference shows President Trump clearly stating that the Indian prime minister had asked him to arbitrate.
“So, I was with Prime Minister Modi two 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,” said Mr. Trump when a Pakistani journalist asked him if he was willing to help resolve the Kashmir dispute.
“I was surprised at how long; it’s been going on a long,” said President Trump, pausing to recall how old was this dispute. “Seventy years,” PM Khan added.
Neither PM Khan nor the journalist had used the word meditation, President Trump was asked if he was “going to play any role in Kashmir,” where millions have suffered since 1947.
“I think they’d like to see it resolved. And I think you’d like to see it resolved. And if I can help, I would love to be a mediator. It shouldn’t be [going on like this],” President Trump added.
“I mean, it’s impossible to believe two incredible countries that are very, very smart, with very smart leadership, can’t solve a problem like that. But if you want me to mediate or arbitrate, I would be willing to do that.”
While immediately accepting the US offer, Mr. Khan said: “Mr. President, I can tell you that, right now, you would have the prayers of over a billion people if you can mediate and resolve this issue.”
President Trump took another step forward, adding that he would speak to Mr. Modi and see if he (Mr. Trump) could play a role in bringing peace to Kashmir. “It should be resolved. So, it — but he (Mr. Modi) asked me the same, so I think there’s something. So maybe we’ll speak to him or I’ll speak to him, and we’ll see if we can do something because I’ve heard so much about Kashmir,” he said.
“Such a beautiful name. It’s supposed to be such a beautiful part of the world. But right now, there are just bombs all over the place. They say everywhere you go you have bombs and it’s a terrible situation. Been going on for many years. If I can do anything to help that, let me know,” said the US president.
President Trump’s statement also supported Pakistan’s claim that Kashmir was in a state of constant disturbance and there could be no peace in South Asia until the Kashmir issue was fixed.
In India, head of the opposition party Congress Rahul Gandhi sought a response from PM Modi on President Trump’s claim, alleging that the Indian prime minister had “betrayed India’s interests”.
“President Trump says PM Modi asked him to mediate between India and Pakistan on Kashmir! If true, PM Modi has betrayed India’s interests and the 1972 Shimla Agreement,” Rahul Gandhi tweeted.
Opposition lawmakers also staged a protest in the Indian parliament, compelling Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar to explain: “I would like to categorically assure the House that no such request has been made by the Prime Minister [Modi] to the US President. I repeat, no such request was made by the Prime Minister to the US President.”
Expressing ‘surprise’ at the Indian reaction, PM Khan stated: “Surprised by the reaction of India to President Trump’s offer of mediation to bring Pakistan and India to the dialogue table for resolving the Kashmir conflict, which has held subcontinent hostage for 70 years.