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The Opposition staged a walkout from the Lok Sabha on Wednesday – after an uproar on the previous day in both Houses of the Parliament – over Trump’s Kashmir claim.

On Monday, (22 July) United States President revealed that he was asked by Narendra Modi to mediate in the Kashmir issue. The statement ignited a brand new controversy, with the Ministry of External Affairs(MEA) rejecting Trump’s claims. Now, the opposition has sought for an explanation regarding the matter.

Here is all that you need to know:

What did Trump reveal?
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and U.S President Donald Trump called for a joint press conference
(Screengrab Courtesy: BBC)

In a joint press conference, along with Pakistan Prime Minister, Imran Khan, Donald Trump revealed that PM Modi has asked for his help in mediating the Kashmir issue with Pakistan.

“I was with Prime Minister Modi two weeks ago, and we talked about the subject. And he actually said, ‘would you like to be a mediator or arbitrator’, and I said ‘where?’, and he said ‘Kashmir’, because this has been going on for many, many years,” Trump told reporters on Monday.

This he said happened when they met in Osaka, Japan on the sidelines of the G20 Summit last month.

“I think they would like to see it resolved. I think you would like to see it resolved and if I can help, I would love to be a mediator. It is impossible to believe that two incredible countries that are very, very smart and very smart leadership can’t resolve it…but if you want me to mediate or arbitrate, I would be willing to do it,” Trump added.

And then MEA responds…

As the issue turned controversial in the parliament with the opposition taking it up, External Affairs Minister  S Jaishankar said, “I would like to categorically assure the House that no such request has been made by the Prime Minister to the US President. I repeat, no such request was made by the Prime Minister to the US President.”

“It 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,” Jaishankar added.

Is it a problem to seek US help?

Yes, And why?

India had for the past 70 years maintained that Kashmir is a bilateral issue. And also had rejected and resisted any involvement of a third-party. The US also had been reiterating that Kashmir is a bilateral issue. What had changed now to seek external help?

This is also a violation of the Shimla agreement, a peace agreement that was signed back in 1972.

What does the Shimla Agreement say?
Indira Gandhi (L) meets Pakistani President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in Shimla on June 28, 1972. Screengrab, (Courtesy: AFP)

It was on July 2, 1972, that former Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi signed the Shimla Agreement with the then Pakistan prime minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. It was signed in the aftermath of the 1971 war in which East Pakistan (Bangladesh) was liberated.

The agreement focuses on respect for each other’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence, and unity. It also mentions non-interference in each other’s internal affairs and discarding of hostile propaganda.

It was signed with the promise of mutual commitment to resolve all peace-related issues through Direct Bilateral Approach. 

And the nation wants to know..

Congress had been demanding a proper explanation from Modi himself regarding the issue.

If what Trump claims is true, Modi has betrayed India’s interests, responded Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. He added that a “weak” foreign ministry denial wouldn’t do and the prime minister is responsible to tell the nation what transpired in the meeting between him and the US president.

“Why is PM ‘mum’ on what transpired between the two heads of states, more so when it affects our sovereignty?” asked Randeep Surjewala.

“I did not say the PM didn’t need to explain himself to Parliament, of which he is a member & to which he is accountable. On the contrary, while I’m prepared to believe it’s impossible our PM could say this, he needs to clarify it himself in Parliament, since Trump cited him personally,” opined Shashi Tharoor.

The US Responds.

Donald Trump’s Chief Economic Advisor Larry Kudlow responded that President doesn’t makeup things and denied India’s claims.

The State Department, in an apparent damage control, said, “the Trump administration welcomes Pakistan and India sitting down and the United States stands ready to assist”. However, they maintained that Kashmir is a bilateral issue.

“I just apologized to Indian Ambassador Harsh Shringla for Trump’s amateurish and embarrassing mistake,” Congressman Brad Sherman tweeted hours after Trump’s shocking claim.

“Everyone who knows anything about foreign policy in South Asia knows that #India consistently opposes third-party mediation re Kashmir. Everyone knows PM Modi would never suggest such a thing (sic),” tweeted Sherman.

“Trump’s statement is amateurish and delusional. And embarrassing,” added him.

Imran Khan’s Surprise 

Imran Khan said that he is surprised by India’s reaction to Trump’s offer on Kashmir.

“Surprised by the reaction of India to Pres Trump’s offer of mediation to bring Pak & India to the dialogue table for resolving Kashmir conflict which has held subcontinent hostage for 70 yrs. Generations of Kashmiris have suffered & are suffering daily and need conflict resolution,” he tweeted.

Well, till now it isn’t clear who lied? And on either side are two cunning politicians. India has for now rejected Trump’s claim, while, the USA is focussed on damage control.

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