Asking Trump to mediate in Kashmir by PM Modi is sacrilegious betrayal of country’s interests, says Congress

Randeep Singh Surjewala

New Delhi, July 23: The entire Opposition including the Congress has asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to give clarification after US President Donald Trump’s claim that Modi has asked him to mediate in the Kashmir dispute as “asking a foreign power to mediate in J&K by PM is a sacrilegious betrayal of country’s interests.”

Congress party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said that Trump’s claim was “deeply disturbing and distressing”.
“No Indian PM has ever dared to breach the cardinal principle of ‘no third party mediation’ in terms of 1972 Simla Agreement,” he tweeted.
“India has never accepted third party mediation in Jammu and Kashmir! To ask a foreign power to mediate in J&K by PM Modi is a sacrilegious betrayal of country’s interests. Let PM answer to the Nation!”, Surjewala tweeted.

Surjewala also questioned Prime Minister’s silence over the claim. “Reiteration of time-tested line on no mediation on Kashmir is welcome. POTUS (Donald Trump) remarks relate to a meeting between him and Prime Minister Modi, wherein our Prime Minister had asked him to mediate. Why is Prime Minister mum on what transpired between the two heads of states, more so when it affects our sovereignty?” he asked.

AFter US President Donald Trump’s claim that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked him to mediate on Kashmir with Pakistan, the opposition has raised questions about whether India had changed its stance on third-party mediation in the dispute.

On Monday, Trump met Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and while answering a question from the media on Kashmir, Trump claimed that Modi had asked him to mediate on Kashmir.

“So, I was with Prime Minister Modi two weeks ago and we talked about this subject. And he actually said, would you actually like to be a mediator or arbitrator? I said, where? He said Kashmir,” Trump stated.”Now, ‘Whitehouse’ puts up POTUS’ (Donald Trump) assertion in ‘black and white’ that Prime Minister Modi asked him to ‘mediate on Kashmir’.

“When will our Prime Minister ‘wake up’ and call the bluff if President Trump is lying? Or did Prime Minister Modi ask POTUS (Donald Trump) to mediate?” Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said in a tweet .

Trump said: “I was with Prime Minister Modi two weeks ago, and we talked about the subject. And he actually said, ‘would you like to be a mediator, or arbitrator’, and I said ‘where?’, and he said ‘Kashmir’, because this has been going on for many, many years. I was surprised for how long it has been going on,” to which Imran Khan interjected to say, “70 years”.

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah said that it would be crucial to see if the Indian government would call Trump a “liar” or “has there been an undeclared shift in India’s position on third party involvement in Kashmir”.

The Central government has, however, rebuffed Trump’s claim, saying that Modi had never made such a request to him, and stressed that all outstanding issues with Pakistan are “discussed only bilaterally”.

“We have seen the US President’s remarks to the press that he is ready to mediate, if requested by India and Pakistan, on the Kashmir issue. No such request has been made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the US President,” Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in a tweet.

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