Amidst his conflicting statements on Kashmir, United States of America President Donald Trump did not directly refer to the issue in his address in the ‘Howdy, Modi! Shared Dreams, Bright Futures’ community gathering. However, he did extensively comment on the defence partnership between India and the US. More importantly, he stated that the US understood the importance of border security for India. He also revealed that the total quantum of defence sales to India had reached $18 billion over the last decade.
US President Trump mentioned that the US was looking forward to ink several defence agreements with India. Furthermore, he added that both countries would demonstrate dramatic progress in their defence relationship by holding their first Tri-Service military exercise in November 2019. It has been named as ‘Tiger Triumph’. Moreover, he pledged the commitment of the US to protect innocent civilians from the threat of radical Islamic terrorism.
A Presidential order combined with the passage of necessary legislation in both Houses of the Parliament led to the revocation of special status enjoyed by J&K in early August. Also, the state was bifurcated into J&K and Ladakh, with both being conferred the status of a Union Territory. Since then, Pakistan has been desperately trying to internationalize the Kashmir issue. While it did manage to convince China to call a closed-door meeting of the UN Security Council, this attempt proved to be futile. A majority of the Council members refused to pass any resolution or formally take up the matter. Similarly, it failed to file a request seeking a resolution on the Kashmir issue at the UN Human Rights Council.
The Kashmir issue has evoked a mixed reaction from the US President. Addressing a press briefing besides Pakistan PM Imran Khan, he claimed that PM Modi had asked him to meditate in the Kashmir dispute. This received an immediate denial from the Ministry of External Affairs. Subsequently, he backtracked from his position and conceded that it could be only resolved bilaterally. The US President, however, kept his offer of help open in case both India and Pakistan agreed to it.