US Representative from California's San Fernando Valley Brad Sherman on Tuesday said that he apologised to Indian Ambassador to the United States Harsh Shringla over Donald Trump's false claim that he was asked to mediate between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir issue by PM Narendra Modi.
Sherman tweeted saying that he promptly apologised to Indian Ambassador Harsh Shringla for Trump's statement calling it amateurish and delusional as well as embarrassing.
India's Ministry of External Affairs also clarified that there was no such request made by PM Modi, and that India remains steadfastly against third-party interference in the Kashmir issue, and that engagement with Pakistan would take place only once Pakistan ends cross-border terrorism
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Alice Wells in a tweet said that Kashmir is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan.
Congressman Eliot L Engel, the Chairman of the powerful House Committee on Foreign Affairs, spoke with Shringla after Trump’s remarks. “Engel reiterated his support for the longstanding US position on the Kashmir dispute, saying he supported dialogue between India and Pakistan, but reaffirmed that the dialogue’s pace and scope can only be determined by India and Pakistan,” said a statement issued by the House Foreign Affairs Committee. During the call, Engel “reaffirmed that in order for dialogue to be meaningful, Pakistan must first take concrete and irreversible steps to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure” on its soil, the statement said.
In a joint statement, Congressman George Holding and Congressman Brad Sherman, who are Co-Chairs of Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, asserted that Kashmir is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan. “Consistent with decades of US policy, we believe the dispute over Kashmir must be resolved bilaterally by India and Pakistan. The Republic of India is one of America’s closest and most important allies, and we look forward to working with Prime Minister Modi and Indian officials to combat terrorism and extremism throughout the region,” the two influential lawmakers said in their joint statement.
Sherman remarks came hours after Trump said that Modi had asked him to act as a mediator to resolve the Kashmir issue. "So I was with Prime Minister Narendra Modi two weeks ago and we talked about this subject. And he actually said, would you actually like to be a mediator or arbitrator? Did I say, where? He said Kashmir because this has been going for many, many years. I was surprised at how long it has been going on," said Trump, who was hosting Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan at the White House.
"It should be resolved, so he has to think the same thing, so maybe I will speak to him and we will see what we can do," he added.
Meanwhile, India also clarified that no such request was made by Modi to the US President. "We have seen @POTUS's remarks to the press that he is ready to mediate if requested by India & Pakistan, on Kashmir issue. No such request has been made by PM @narendramodi to US President. It has been India's consistent position," tweeted MEAspokesperson Raveesh Kumar. "...that all outstanding issues with Pakistan are discussed only bilaterally. Any engagement with Pakistan would require an end to cross border terrorism. The Shimla Agreement & the Lahore Declaration provide the basis to resolve all issues between India & Pakistan bilaterally," he said in a subsequent tweet.
(With agency inputs)