US President Donald Trump is “ready to assist” India and Pakistan over the Kashmir issue if both sides ask for it, the White House said on Thursday. The US is ‘very closely’ monitoring the situation in Kashmir, it said. This came amid tensions between India, Pakistan after New Delhi abrogated provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution to withdraw Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and bifurcated it into two Union Territories on August 5.
“The United States is watching the situation in Kashmir very closely. We are continuing to call for calm and restraint, including on rhetoric,” a senior administration official said ahead of the bilateral meeting between Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of G7 Summit in France over the weekend.
According to the official, Trump is “very focused” on the situation in Kashmir because of the broader implications of the developments in Jammu and Kashmir and the potential for increased stability in the region.
“What he (Trump) has indicated that he is ready to assist if both sides are interested in helping to reduce their tension. But we just know that India has not requested any formal mediation, the official said requesting anonymity.
The official said that President Trump, during his meeting with Modi in France will likely want to hear how he intends to calm regional tensions in the aftermath of his decisions on Kashmir.
“The president will likely want to hear from Prime Minister Modi on how he plans to reduce regional tensions and uphold respect for human rights in Kashmir, as part of India’s role as the world’s largest democracy,” he said.
Earlier also Trump had offered to do the best to ease out tensions and, if possible, mediate between both the countries.
“I will do the best I can to mediate or do something. (I have) great relationship with both of them, but they (India and Pakistan) are not exactly friends at this moment,” Trump had said.
Referring Kashmir as ‘complicated place’, Trump said that the subcontinent is having these talks for hundreds (sic) of years, even under different names. He added, “You have the Hindus. And you have the Muslims. I wouldn’t say they get along so great. That’s what you have right now, he said adding that the two countries haven’t got along for a long time.”
(With PTI inputs)