Biarritz (France), Aug 26: While interacting with media alongside US President Donald Trump, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared that Pakistan is a major stakeholder in Jammu and Kashmir by saying that the two countries can discuss and resolve all issues bilaterally and “we don’t want to trouble any third country,” thus rehecting any scope for third party to mediate on the Kashmir issue.
US President Donald Trump said that India and Pakistan “can do it by themselves”.
Answering queries from the media on Kashmir, ahead of their bilateral meeting, Prime Minister Modi, to a question on Trump’s offer to mediate on Kashmir, said: “All issues between India and Pakistan are bilateral, and we don’t want to trouble any nation over this. And I have faith… before 1947 we were one nation, and that if we sit together and discuss, we can find solutions between ourselves to our problems through dialogue.”
“All the issues between India and Pakistan are bilateral in nature, and we don’t want to trouble any third country. We can discuss and resolve these issues bilaterally,” Mr. Modi said.
On his part, Mr. Trump said he and Mr. Modi spoke about Kashmir “at great length” on Sunday night and he feels that both India and Pakistan can resolve it on their own.
“We spoke about Kashmir, the Prime Minister really feels he has it [situation] under control. They speak with Pakistan and I’m sure that they will be able to do something that will be very good,” Mr. Trump said.
“I have very good relationship with both the gentlemen [Modi and Khan] and I’m here. I think they can do it [resolve the issue] themselves,” he added.
“We are talking about trade, we’re talking about military and many different things. We had some great discussions, we were together for dinner & I learned a lot about India,” the U.S. President said. Mr. Modi also thanked Mr. Trump for congratulating him after his recent election victory.
To a question on whether his offer to mediate was still on the table, Trump said: “Well, I am here, and I have very good relations with both gentlemen (Modi and Pakistan PM Imran Khan), and I’m here. I feel they can do it by themselves, they’ve been doing it for a long time.”
Earlier, asked if Kashmir would be discussed, Trump said he had discussed the issue with Modi during dinner on Sunday night.
“Well, we spoke last night about Kashmir, and Prime Minister Modi really feels that he has it under control; and now when they speak with Pakistan and I’m sure that they will be able to do somethng that will be very good.”
PM Modi, asked about his take on Kashmir, said: “India and Pakistan have several bilateral issues. After the election of Prime Minister Imran Khan, I told him that both our countries suffer from the problems of poverty, illiteracy, backwardness and both should work together for the betterment of our people. I have conveyed this to President Trump as well, and we keep discussing our bilateral issues.”
Trump’s remark that both India and Pakistan “can do it by themselves”, is a climb-down from his earlier stand, as recent as August 21 when he said he would discuss the Kashmir issue with ‘friend’ Modi in Biarritz and do his best to mediate in the issue.