The Kashmir issue was raised by Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan during his meet with US President Donald Trump on Wednesday. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday, reiterated its stand, refusing any third-party intervention on the Kashmir issue, stating that it has to be resolved bilaterally. The onus is on Islamabad to create an environment for engagement, the MEA further said hinting towards the state-backed terrorism thriving in Pakistan. The Ministry's assertation came in response to US President Donald Trump's fresh offer to "help" in resolving the persisting Kashmir issue between New Delhi and Islamabad.
"There is no role for any third party in the Kashmir issue," MEA Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said when asked about Trump's offer. "Our position has been clear and consistent on Kashmir... It is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan," he said.
Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan Media Talk with US President Donald Trump at World Economic Forum, Davos, Switzerland (21.01.20)#PrimeMinisterImranKhan #Pakistan 🇵🇰 #USA 🇺🇸#Kashmir #WEF20 @ImranKhanPTI pic.twitter.com/hg7DJHxuRH— PTI (@PTIofficial) January 21, 2020
Accusing Pakistan of playing the victim card, MEA accused the country of harboring terrorists. In addition, said that if Pakistan intends to maintain friendly relations with India, it should refrain from making such a statement and deal with their internal issues. He said, "They are playing the victim card and at the same time, they are harbouring terrorists. If Pakistan is serious about friendly relations with India, they need to take action on terror groups. I feel that they should refrain from making such statements. They should deal with their internal challenges. I don't think we need their advice." The MEA spokesperson additionally maintained that the World Economic Forum was an inappropriate platform to discuss such issues
Donald Trump stated that the US is observing the developments unfolding between India and Pakistan over Kashmir "very closely" and reiterated his offer to "help" resolve the longstanding dispute between the two nuclear-armed neighbours, as he met Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum here in the Swiss ski resort.
Addressing the media with Imran Khan prior to their private meeting on Tuesday, President Trump asserted that trade and borders were both critical points for discussion, while Imran Khan said that for him, Afghanistan was the top priority. Trump told Imran Khan, whom he referred to as "my friend", that he would speak to Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the ongoing Kashmir issue. The US president is expected to visit India in the coming weeks, marking his first visit after taking up his post in the White House.
"What''s going on between Pakistan and India … if we can help, we certainly will be willing to. We have been watching it very closely and it''s an honour to be here with my friend," Trump said. "The Pakistan-India conflict is a very big issue for us in Pakistan and we expect the US to always play its part in deescalating the tensions because no other country can," Khan said.
Donald Trump back in July 2019 courted controversy by claiming that he was asked by Prime Minister Modi to mediate the Kashmir issue with Pakistan. However, in response, the MEA then asserted that 'all outstanding issues with Pakistan are discussed only bilaterally' and that India has been consistent with its position in regards the neighbour.
(with PTI inputs)