No role for third party: MEA on Trump’s offer for help on Kashmir issue

No role for third party: MEA on Trump's offer for help on Kashmir issue

President Donald Trump listens during a meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan at the World Economic Forum, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020, in Davos, Switzerland. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

Days after Trump reiterated his offer to "help" India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Thursday ruled out third-party involvement in the matter and slammed Islamabad for its "double standards".

"Our position has been clear and consistent on Kashmir; it is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan. Let me reiterate that there is no role for any third party in this matter," MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar while addressing a press briefing.

Accusing Islamabad of creating an "alarmist situation in Kashmir", Kumar said the onus was on Pakistan to create conducive conditions—free from terror, hostility and violence. Citing the Shimla Agreement and Lahore Declaration, he further said that any bilateral issues between the two countries need to be discussed under the provisions of the above pacts.

The ministry's assertion came after Trump met Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in Davos on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum, where the US President volunteered the US’ “help” even before Khan spoke — without any prompting or provocation.

It was the fourth time that Trump has made such an offer – each time, India has rejected his proposal.

Addressing the media with Khan at his side, Trump had said, “We are talking about Kashmir and in relation to what is going on with Pakistan and India and if we can help — we certainly will be helping. We’ve been following that and watching it very very closely.”

Khan, time and again, has raised the Kashmir issue at various international arenas including the UN General Assembly, an opinion piece on The New York Times and with Trump, as well.

India has always maintained that Kashmir is a bilateral issue, and no third party has any role in it. Pakistan has been trying to internationalise the Kashmir issue after India withdrew the special status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5, but New Delhi has asserted the abrogation of Article 370 was its internal matter.

(with PTI, ANI inputs)