Defence minister Rajnath Singh said in Parliament on Wednesday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi didn’t discuss Kashmir with US president Donald Trump and ruled out any possibility of mediation on the issue.
“As S Jaishankar ji (External Affairs Minister) said Kashmir issue was not discussed in President Trump and PM Modi meeting. There is no question of mediation in Kashmir issue as it will be against the Simla agreement,” Rajnath Singh said in Lok Sabha.
“Kashmir is an issue of national pride for us. We can never compromise with it… if there would be any talks with Pakistan over Kashmir, it will also include Pakistan-occupied Kashmir,” Singh said.
Trump, speaking to reporters during Pakistan PM Imran Khan’s US visit, had claimed that PM Modi had asked him to mediate on the Kashmir issue. India was quick to rebut the US president’s claim with external affairs minister S Jaishankar confirming that no such request was made.
The US did backtrack later, saying that it would assist in talks between India and Pakistan and that Kashmir is a bilateral issue.
When asked about Trump’s claim on Wednesday, a top advisor said the president “does not make up things”. “The President does not make anything up. That’s a very rude question in my opinion. I am going to stay out of that. It’s outside of my lane. It’s for Mr (National Security Advisor John) Bolton, Mr (Secretary of State Mike) Pompeo and President,” Trump’s Chief Economic Advisor Larry Kudlow said.
Both houses of Indian Parliament —Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha—witnessed protests over Trump’s stunning claim. The opposition, led by the Congress, demanded a statement by PM Modi. The opposition continued its demand on Wednesday and staged a walkout in the Lok Sabha.
Rahul Gandhi tweeted that PM Modi must “must tell the nation what transpired” in his meeting with Donald Trump. “President Trump says PM Modi asked him to mediate between India & Pakistan on Kashmir! If true, PM Modi has betrayed India’s interests & 1972 Simla Agreement. A weak Foreign Ministry denial won’t do,” Rahul Gandhi tweeted.