The controversy over the claims made by US President Donald Trump on being asked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to mediate on Kashmir has not shown any signs of losing steam. Meanwhile, a statement by a top Trump aide may cause further embarrassment to the Indian government.
National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow was asked whether what Trump said was true since the Indian government had issued a firm denial to his claims of any sort of conversation with Modi. Terming the question from the reporter ‘very rude,’ Kudlow said, “The president doesn’t make things up.”
The Congress on Tuesday asked PM Modi to make a statement clarifying that Trump was essentially lying about his conversation with him on the thorny issue of Kashmir when both the leaders met in Osaka recently.
Leading the attack was Congress MP Manish Tewari, who demanded a statement from PM Modi on Trump’s claims on Kashmir. Tewari also said that Modi should address both houses of the parliament to categorically clarify whether Donald Trump was lying when he attributed the conversation to the Indian PM. He also termed the statement by Trump an attack on India’s sovereignty.
While the Indian foreign ministry issued denials in response to the claim made by Trump on Kashmir, the White House uploaded the full transcript of the US President’s joint press briefing with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on its official website. This was widely seen as another sign of the Trump administration sticking to its President’s claim on his conversation with Modi.
Speaking to reporters during the joint briefing, Trump had said, “So I was with — I was with Prime Minister Modi two weeks ago, and we talked about this subject. And he actually said, “Would you like to be a mediator or arbitrator?” I said, “Where?” He said, “Kashmir.” Because this has been going on for many, many years. I was surprised at how long; it’s been going on.”
He continued, “And I think they’d like to see it resolved. And I think you’d like to see it resolved. And if I can help, I would love to be a mediator. It shouldn’t be — I mean, it’s impossible to believe two incredible countries that are very, very smart, with very smart leadership, can’t solve a problem like that. But if you want me to mediate or arbitrate, I would be willing to do that.”
Later answering a separate question, Trump had described Kashmir a place full of bombs. He said, “It should be resolved. So it — but he asked me the same, so I think there’s something. So maybe we’ll speak to him or I’ll speak to him, and we’ll see if we can do something because I’ve heard so much about Kashmir. Such a beautiful name. It’s supposed to be such a beautiful part of the world. But right now there’s (sic) just bombs all over the place. They say everywhere you go, you have bombs and it’s a terrible situation. Been going on for many years. If I can do anything to help that, let me know.”