‘Trump’s offer to mediate on Kashmir conditional’

New Delhi, Feb 19: US President Donald Trump has offered to mediate over Kashmir between India and Pakistan on many occasions but the proposal is conditional only if the countries involved in the issue want, government sources told ANI on Wednesday while doubting if the matter won’t be taken up during Trump’s upcoming visit to India.

“US President Trump has made it clear on a number of occasions that if the countries want, then they can mediate. We’ve said ‘no’ to any mediation. It is an offer that is conditional. Don’t think it will come up during the visit,” sources said.

“The US State Department has said it is an issue that needs to be resolved bilaterally. Changing laws is India’s internal matter. Our sense is that these issues are behind them,” they added.

Sources also said: “We do not expect Jammu and Kashmir to be a major factor. US envoy Kenneth Juster had visited Jammu and Kashmir. We had two visits of envoys to the region. We have lifted most restrictions. Safety and security of citizens have ensured.”

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Sunday rejected an offer of mediation proposed by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Kashmir, saying the focus instead should be on getting vacated the territories that are “illegally and forcibly occupied by Pakistan.”

Tensions between India and Pakistan spiked after New Delhi abrogated the special status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5 last year. India’s decision evoked strong reactions from Pakistan, which downgraded its diplomatic ties with India.

However, India has defended its move, saying that the special status provisions were revoked in order to bring development in the region and reduce cross-border militancy.

A proposal of mediation was also offered last year by Trump in the presence of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan at a joint press conference during the latter’s visit to Washington in July. (ANI)

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