NEW DELHI – US President Donald Trump on Tuesday described the Kashmir issue as a “big problem” and a “thorn” for a long time, and offered to mediate in de-escalating tensions between India and Pakistan.
However, he clarified that he is not offering to mediate on the Kashmir issue.
At a packed press conference, the US president also said ways to deal with terrorism figured prominently in his talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi who, Trump stressed, is determined to check the menace.
“We talked a lot about Pakistan. I have a very good relationship with Prime Minister Khan. We talked about it today at length with Prime Minister Modi. Kashmir obviously is a big problem between India and Pakistan; they are going to work out their problem. They have been doing it for a long time,” Trump said.
He further added: “We just hope, and I just said I’ll do whatever I have to do, if I can do that because my relationship with both gentlemen is so good. But there has been difficulty in Pakistan. We are seeing what we can do about it. Anything I can do to mediate, anything I can do to help I would do.”
Later, asked about India’s rejection of his earlier offer to mediate on Kashmir, the US president said he is not offering to mediate on the issue.
“Kashmir has been a thorn in a lot of people’s sides for a long time. There are two sides to every story,” said Trump.
When asked about the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) that has triggered a wave of violent protests across the India, Trump said that he won’t comment on it.
“I’ll leave that up to India and hopefully they will do the right thing,” he said
Earlier, he spoke a little more about religious freedom and his discussions with PM Modi. “We did talk about religious freedom. The PM said he wants people to have religious freedom. They have worked really hard on it.”
“We discussed it. Prime Minister Modi said they work very closely with Muslims,” Trump replied when asked if raised the allegations of discrimination against Muslims in India.
Asked about the violence in Delhi’s northeast between groups for and against the citizenship law, in which 100 have been injured, he said: “I heard about the individual attacks but I did not discuss it. It is up to India.”
In his short visit, President Trump addressed a huge gathering at a cricket stadium in Ahmedabad with PM Modi and visited the Taj Mahal in Agra before travelling to Delhi for bilateral talks.