WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump offered to mediate the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan.
In a press talks after his meeting with Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan, President Trump said If he could help he would love to be a mediator.
“If I can do anything to help, let me know,” he said. Imran replied that if Trump would, he would “have the prayers of more than a billion people”.
The premier said the US, being the most powerful country in the world, can play the most important role in bringing peace to the subcontinent.
“There are over a billion and quarter people in the subcontinent, they are held hostage to the issue of Kashmir, and I feel that only the most powerful state, headed by President Trump, can bring the two countries together.
“From my point, I can tell you we have tried our best, we have made all overtures to India to start a dialogue, resolve our differences through dialogue, but unfortunately we haven’t made headways as yet. But I am hoping that President Trump would push this process,” said Prime Minister Imran.
In response, Trump revealed that India had also asked him to mediate.
“I was with Prime Minister [Narendra] Modi two weeks ago. We talked about the subject and he actually said, ‘Would you like to be a mediator or arbitrator?’. I said where, he said Kashmir, because it has been going on for many, many years.
“I was surprised to know how long it has been going on. I think they would like to see it resolved, you [Pakistan] would like to see it resolve […] and if I can help, I would love to become a mediator,” said Trump.
“I have heard so much about Kashmir; it’s a beautiful place.”
India’s Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar, however, shortly after the remarks by Trump denied that any such request had been made by Modi.
In televised remarks from inside the Oval Office, President Trump noted that the US is working with Pakistan to leave Afghanistan, saying that he does not want the US to be “a policeman” in the region.
“Pakistan is helping us a lot now on Afghanistan,” he said, adding that relations with the country are much better now than before.
In wide-ranging remarks, he also offered to intercede to improve strained relations between Pakistan and India, and further said that aid to Islamabad could be restored depending on the kind of understanding reached between the two leaders.
To a question asking him about his own unfavourable views about Pakistan in the past, Trump said: “I don’t think Pakistan respected the United States [in the past]. I don’t think Pakistan respected its [the United States’] presidents. I think Pakistan could have done a tremendous amount with respect to Afghanistan: they didn’t do it — another blame game because they were dealing with the wrong presidents — who knows?
“I think they could have help us a lot in the past, but it doesn’t matter [now]. We have a new leader, he is going be a great leader of Pakistan. We have a sort of new leader here […] but now I think Pakistan could have done a lot [in the past] but it choose not to just because they didn’t respect US leadership,” he said.
“We were paying $1.3 billion as aid for many years but the problem was that Pakistan — it was before you [PM Imran] — was not doing anything for us. They were really, I think, subversive.
“To be honest, we have a better relationship with Pakistan right now than we did when we were paying that money. But all of that can come back depending on what we work out […] and I think at the end of this, the end of a very short time, we can have a very great relationship with Pakistan.
“It is a great country, they are very great people. I have many friends from Pakistan […] they are great people, smart, tough — they are tough, there is no question about that. They are like him [pointing to PM Imran], they are tough,” said Trump.