NEW DELHI India on Thursday played down the controversy over US President Donald Trump’s claim that Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked him to mediate on the Kashmir issue, saying it is time to move on.
Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar asserted that India’s relationship with the US remains very strong.
Trump had said that he “would love to be a mediator” in the Kashmir issue if he could help. “If I can do anything to help, let me know,” Trump said in response to a question during Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s US visit, adding that he is ready to help if the two countries ask for it.
“I was with Prime Minister Modi two weeks ago and we talked about this subject (Kashmir). And he said, ‘would you like to be a mediator or arbitrator?’ I said, ‘where?’ (Modi said) ‘Kashmir’,” Trump said.
India has been consistent with its policy that Kashmir is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan and there is no scope for any role by any third party.
Kumar also termed Imran Khan’s remarks that 30,000-40,000 “armed people” who fought in Afghanistan or Kashmir were still in his country as a “glaring admission”. He asserted that it is time for Islamabad to take credible and irreversible action against terrorists.
“It is a glaring admission by the Pakistani leadership,” Kumar.
It is time for Pakistan to take credible and irreversible action against terrorists, he said.
Addressing a think-tank in Washington on Tuesday, Khan said about 30,000 to 40,000 militants who had trained and fought in “some part of Afghanistan or Kashmir” were in his country.
“It is a glaring admission by the Pakistani leadership…. This is not the first time that Pakistan and Pakistani leadership owned up to the presence of militant training camps and militants in Pakistan…. It is also in public knowledge and international community knows about it,” Kumar said.
He said as Khan acknowledged the presence of militant training camps in his country, “it is time for them to take credible and irreversible action against the militant camps.”
“They should make sure that the safe havens and sanctuaries in Pakistan should be neutralised. We feel that half-hearted measures to please the international community won’t do,” he added.
India and Afghanistan have been accusing Pakistan of providing safe haven to the Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani network, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Lashkar-e-Taiba and other militant groups.
Khan, who was on a three-day official visit to the US, also admitted to American lawmakers that successive governments in Pakistan did not tell the truth to the United States, in particular in the last 15 years, that there were 40 different militant groups operating in his country.
“Until we came into power, the governments did not have the political will, because when you talk about militant groups, we still have about 30,000-40,000 armed people who have been trained and fought in some part of Afghanistan or Kashmir,” Khan said at the US Institute of Peace.
“We are the first government that has started disarming militant groups. This is the first time it’s happening. We’ve taken over their institutes, their seminaries. We have administrators there,” said the leader of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf party which formed its first federal government in August last year.
India has been making diplomatic efforts to corner Pakistan on the issue of militancy.
It has not been engaging with Pakistan since early 2016 following an attack on the Indian Air Force base at Pathankot in January that year, maintaining that talks and terror cannot go together.