The off-the-cuff Kashmir remarks by US President Donald Trump during his meeting with visiting Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan have kicked up a firestorm in India, with opposition parties demanding personal clarification from Prime Minister Modi.
India’s main opposition Congress Party raised the issue once again on Wednesday and demanded a personal clarification from Modi. Irked by Modi’s continued silence his party members walked out of Lok Sabha, the Lower House of Parliament raising slogans against Modi.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh reiterated there were no such talks between Modi and Trump, during their meeting in the Japanese city of Osaka. “Nothing can be more authentic than the statement of External Affairs Minister Jaishankar, who himself was present during the meeting,” he told the House.
Congress lawmaker and former UN diplomat Shashi Tharoor has issued a stop notice on seeking clarification from the Prime Minister, as to whether he had asked Trump to mediate on the Kashmir issue.
On Monday (July 22), President Trump stunned India by saying that Prime Minister Modi had sought his help in resolving the Kashmir issue with Pakistan on the sidelines of the G20 Summit held in June in the Japanese city of Osaka.
“I was with Prime Minister Modi two weeks ago, and we talked about this subject [Kashmir]. And he actually said,” would you like to be a mediator or arbitrator?” I said, “where” [Modi said] “Kashmir,” President Trump stated during his joint media interaction with visiting Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan.
External Affairs Minister Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar had refuted Trump’s claim and told Indian Parliament that “no such request has been made by the Prime Minister to the US President.”
The Kashmir dispute dates back to 1947 with two of three wars fought over Kashmir. In 1999, the forces of both countries met in the Kargil heights of the Kashmir Valley, the meeting was followed by skirmishes that claimed the lives of over 500 soldiers on the Indian side.