During meet with Pak PM Imran Khan, Prez says US watching situation ‘very, very closely’.
New Delhi: Ahead of his visit to India that may take place sometime next month, US President Donald Trump has reiterated his resolve to “help” in resolving the Kashmir issue between India and Pakistan, add-ing that the US is watching the situation in Kashmir “very, very closely”. The US President made the remarks in the presence of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan at Davos, Switzerland, late on Tuesday. On his part, the Pakistani PM also “hoped” that “the US will play its part in resolving that (Kashmir issue) because no other country can”.
This is despite New Delhi having repeatedly told the US President that the Kashmir issue has to be discussed only bilaterally between India and Pakis-tan. The US President’s latest comments are being seen by observers as a sign of American pressure on India to begin talks with Pakistan. It is also being seen as a sign of Pakistan trying to push for US mediation on the Kashmir issue in return for helping the US work out a deal with the Taliban in Afghan-istan.
The comments also come in the wake of the visit of US ambassador to India Kenneth Juster to J&K as part of the 15–member foreign envoys’ delegation that visited the newly-created union territory earlier this month.
Addressing the media with the Pakistan PM ahead of their talks on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum at Davos, President Trump was quoted by news reports as saying, “We are talking about Kashmir and with relation to what’s going on with Pakistan and India. If we can help, we certainly will be helping. We have been watching it and following it very, very closely.” Asked if he would visit Pakistan around the time he visits India, President Trump said, “We are visiting right now, so we won’t really have to. But I wanted to say hello for both a relationship standpoint... we have had a great relationship.”
On his part, Pakistan PM Imran Khan was quoted as saying, “There are issues that we want to talk about, like Afghanistan. Fortunately, we are on the same page... India, of course, it is a big issue. We always hope that the US will play its part in resolving that because no other country can.”
In the wake of repeated offers of mediation between India and Pakistan by the US President last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had clearly told the US President during their bilateral meeting in New York last September that India was “not shying away from talks with Pakistan”. PM Modi had told President Trump that India had “expected certain steps to be taken” against terrorism by Pakistan and that it was Pakistan that had not taken those steps.
Ahead of his bilateral meeting with PM Modi then, President Trump had hoped that PM Modi and Pakistan PM Imran Khan would “get together” and “work out something on Kashmir”, adding that “we all want to see that”.