American President Donald Trump by his loose and vacuous comments has again stirred controversy. During a press briefing with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, Donald Trump has offered to mediate between India and Pakistan and said that PM Modi had asked him to help with disputed “disputed Kashmir” region and also added he would “love to be a mediator”.
US President Donald Trump says PM Narendra Modi has also asked him to help with "disputed Kashmir" region, he would "love to be a mediator": Reuters pic.twitter.com/PcE7dnq4rr
— ANI (@ANI) July 22, 2019
However, taking note of these comments, India has reacted firmly and has again reiterated its stand of bilateral resolution of all outstanding issues between the two neighbors. Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar has stated India’s position and also clarified that no such request for mediation was made by PM Modi and tweeted:
“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 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.”
…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.2/2
— Raveesh Kumar (@MEAIndia) July 22, 2019
Along with the prompt response from the MEA, several official administrative channels in the USA have also refuted claims made by President Trump. However, despite decisive and conclusive evidence of no such discussions between Prime Minister Modi and President Trump, Congress dynast Rahul Gandhi has again churned a controversy and raised questions on India’s External Affairs ministry in a shameful attempt to gain political mileage against PM Modi. These comments come as Pakistan is also celebrating blatant lies uttered by Donald Trump during the press briefing. Rahul Gandhi has tweeted:
“President Trump says PM Modi asked him to mediate between India & Pakistan on Kashmir! If true, PM Modi has betrayed India’s interests & 1972 Shimla Agreement. A weak Foreign Ministry denial won’t do. PM must tell the nation what transpired in the meeting between him & @POTUS”
However, for Congress, this is not the first time that its leaders have come out with such statements, the grand old party has earlier too betrayed national interests for political points, be it shielding terrorists or aiding Pakistani interests by political activities in India. Earlier Congress was called out when several leaders had raised questions over Balakot Strikes and insulted Indian Armed Forces. Rahul Gandhi’s political mentor Sam Pitroda had said, “I would like to know a little more because I read reports in the New York Times and other newspapers. Did we really attack? We really killed 300 people? I don’t know that. As a citizen, I am entitled to know and if I ask it is my duty to ask, that doesn’t mean I’m not a nationalist, that doesn’t mean I am on this side or that side. We need to know the facts. If you say 300 people were killed, I need to know that.”
Another senior Congress leader, Kapil Sibal who was recently in the spotlight for the controversy surrounding Tiranga TV had in a tweet tried to politicize the airstrike conducted by IAF and news reports by controversial outlets like New York Times and others. He said that PM Modi is “guilty of politicizing terror” and ultimately airstrikes conducted by IAF. In his tweet, Sibal also asked- Is international media reporting no proof of terrorists’ death in the Balakot airstrike on a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror camp.
Congress had even tried to sabotage the much critical Rafale deal, Rahul Gandhi had tried to twist a French media report saying that making Reliance an offsets partner was a tradeoff for Dassault to get the deal with India. But the fact is that both the Hon’ble Supreme Court & the Dassault CEO said that the Indian government had nothing to do with the choice of the offsets partners. The Congress president had also said that former President of France, Francois Hollande claimed that the Indian government had asked to include Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence as offset partner. But Hollande dismissed such allegations and the French government issued an official statement.
These shameful comments by Rahul Gandhi come after a US congressman had even apologized to the Indian ambassador for the comments by US President Trump. US Congressman Brad Sherman had tweeted “Everyone who knows anything about foreign policy in South Asia knows that #India consistently opposes third-party mediation re #Kashmir. Everyone knows PM Modi would never suggest such a thing. Trump’s statement is amateurish and delusional. And embarrassing.” He also added that he apologized to Indian Ambassador Harsh Shringla for Trump’s amateurish and embarrassing mistake.
— Rep. Brad Sherman (@BradSherman) July 22, 2019
Eliot L Engel, Chairman of House Committee on Foreign Affairs also called on Indian Ambassador and said “I support dialogue on Kashmir, but the pace and scope can only be determined by India and Pakistan” ultimately recognizing the bilateral nature of various issues between the rogue nation and India.
Even the White House Press release did not mention Trump’s remarks on Kashmir, clearly indicating White House’s damage control efforts. However, for the Congress and Rahul Gandhi, desperation after two continuous humiliating defeats in the Lok Sabha elections has brought them to a level that personal political agenda has superseded India’s foreign policy interests.
Further discrediting Trump’s comments, India and United States have both indicated that they have no record of the Kashmir issue being discussed between the two leaders when they had met on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Osaka last month. According to sources the US is believed to have informally confirmed to the Indian side that neither the White House or the US Department of State have any of the official records of claims made by President Donald Trump. On the Indian side as well, the Ministry of External Affairs has confirmed there was not even any remote discussion on Kashmir that could have set off a misunderstanding.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar while speaking in the Rajya Sabha, in firm response to Congress meek attempts has also completely refuted claims made by Donald Trump.
"I would like to categorically assure the House that no such request has been made by PM Modi", says EAM S Jaishankar in #RajyaSabha on Trump's statement that PM Modi had asked him to mediate in Kashmir issue. pic.twitter.com/WolXUQtQEA
— All India Radio News (@airnewsalerts) July 23, 2019
As is evident, despite the clarifications, Rahul Gandhi and the opposition continues to peddle the agenda contrary to India’s national interests for petty political gains.