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India did not request Trump to mediate in Kashmir: Jaishankar tells Parliament

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New Delhi | July 23, 2019 2:41:39 PM IST
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not made any request to US President Donald Trump to mediate with Pakistan on Kashmir, adding that India's consistent position has been to discuss outstanding issues bilaterally.

Jaishankar made statements on the issue first in the Rajya Sabha and later in the Lok Sabha.

The opposition members forced an adjournment in the Rajya Sabha following the Minister's remarks and they staged a walkout in the Lok Sabha as well.

"I would like to categorically assure the House that no such request has been made by Prime Minister Modi," Jaishankar said amid thumping of tables by treasury benches in the Rajya Sabha.

The minister said that engagement with Pakistan can resume after it puts an end to cross-border terrorism.

"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," he said.

He said the Shimla Agreement and the Lahore declaration provide the basis to resolve all issues between India and Pakistan bilaterally.

In the Lok Sabha, the issue was raised during Zero Hour by Manish Tewari of Congress, Saugata Roy of Trinamool Congress and T. R. Baalu of DMK, who all demanded a response from the Prime Minister on Trump's remarks.

Trump, during a meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, had claimed that Modi requested him to mediate the long-pending issue. "So I was with Prime Minister Narendra Modi two weeks ago and we talked about this subject. And he actually said, would you actually like to be a mediator or arbitrator? Did I say, where? He said Kashmir because this has been going for many, many years."

"I was surprised at how long it has been going on," Trump said at the White House, with Khan seated next to him.

Soon after Trump's remarks, the Ministry of External Affairs had said that no such request was made and emphasised that all outstanding issues with Pakistan are discussed only bilaterally.

Tewari said Trump had made remarks about his meeting with Modi on the sidelines of G20 summit in Osaka.

"The Prime Minister should come to this House and respond if such a conversation took place. (If) it did not take place, he should say categorically that the US President was making misleading statements telling a lie on the Kashmir issue," he said.

Saugata Roy said India has been consistently opposed to third-party mediation in Kashmir. BJP members objected to some of his remarks, which led to an uproar in the House.

Home Minister Amit Shah also objected to the remarks and Speaker Om Birla assured that any objectionable remarks will be removed from records.

Jaishankar read his statement in the din which could not be heard clearly by the members. Shah urged the Speaker to allow the minister to speak again.

"Yesterday, the President of the United States of America made certain remarks after a meeting with Prime Minister of Pakistan. He said that he was ready to mediate if requested by India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue."

"I assure the House categorically that no such request has been made by Prime Minister. I also reiterate that it has been India's consistent position that all outstanding issues with Pakistan are discussed only bilaterally. We further underline that any engagement with Pakistan will require an end to cross-border terrorism," he said to the thumping of desks by members of treasury benches.

He also said Shimla agreement and Lahore Declaration provide the only basis to resolve all issues between India and Pakistan bilaterally.

The presiding officers of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha urged members to speak in one voice on national issues.

"It is a national issue. Country's unity, integrity and national interest is involved, we should be seen speaking in one voice," Naidu said before adjourning the Rajya Sabha. (ANI)

 
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