POTUS’ India visit: Trump expected to talk Kashmir,says US Officials
New Delhi, Feb 22: Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC), and the tensions between India and Pakistan on Kashmir are expected to be discussed by US President Donald Trump with Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he visits India next week, senior US administration officials said on late Friday. “I think what you’ll hear from the President is very much encouraging a reduction in tensions between India and Pakistan, encouraging the two countries to engage in bilateral dialogue with each other to resolve their differences,” the official said during a briefing to a question on whether Trump will again offer to mediate on Kashmir. In response to a question on whether Trump will raise the CAA and NRC with PM Modi, the official said the administration is “concerned” about these issues and that Trump will talk about these issues with Prime Minister Modi. “Particularly, Mr Trump is expected to raise the religious freedom issue which is extremely important to the current US administration as well as discuss shared traditions of democracy and religious freedom both in public remarks and certainly in private,” the official said. The comments are significant at a time when there is growing concern in Washington over India’s adherence to democratic processes and traditions, namely, Parliament’s passage of the CAA and the establishment of the NRC in Assam. “Prime Minister Modi in his first speech after winning the election last year, talked about how he would prioritize being inclusive of Indian religious minorities. And certainly the world looks to India to maintain religious liberty and equal treatment for all under the rule of law,” the Hindu reported the official said. Responding to a question from The Hindu on whether Mr. Trump will offer to mediate between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue, the official said Kashmir will be raised and Mr. Trump would very much encourage a “reduction in tensions” between India and Pakistan and encourage them to engage in bilateral dialogue to resolve differences. “We continue to believe a core foundation of any successful dialogue between the two is based on continued momentum in Pakistan’s efforts to crack down on terrorist extremists on its territory. We continue to look for that. I think the President will urge both countries to seek to maintain peace and stability along the line of control and refrain from actions or statements that could increase tensions in the region,” the official said.