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'Wild Preposterous Statement Corrected by Everyone': US Congressman Who Called Trump's Mediation Claim 'Amateurish'

The US congressman said that Trump's claims illustrates for Indians, the ‘level of amateurism’ that goes on in the White House, which is often beyond the ambit of control of the president’s advisers.


Updated:July 24, 2019, 1:25 PM IST
'Wild Preposterous Statement Corrected by Everyone': US Congressman Who Called Trump's Mediation Claim 'Amateurish'
File photo of US President Donald Trump.

US Congressman Brad Sherman, who had dispelled Donald Trump’s stunning claim that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked him to help mediate with Pakistan in their dispute over Kashmir as ‘amateurish’ and ‘irresponsible’, reiterated his stance Tuesday and said that the President’s push for arbitration is a ‘very serious problem’.

Trump told reporters on Monday just before he sat down for talks with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan that Modi had asked him, during the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan last month, if he would like to be a mediator on Kashmir, which is at the heart of decades of hostility between India and Pakistan.

But the comments triggered a political storm in India, which has long bristled at any suggestion of third-party involvement in tackling Kashmir.

In a tweet posted on Tuesday, Sherman said PM Modi would never suggest third-party mediation on Kashmir. "Everyone who knows anything about foreign policy in South Asia knows that India consistently opposes third-party mediation on Kashmir. Everyone knows PM Modi would never suggest such a thing. Trump's statement is amateurish and delusional and embarrassing."

Responding to a journalist who sought clarification on the Congressman’s previous statements on Trump’s mediation claim, Sherman said that no Indian PM would ask for American mediation on Kashmir and the PM least likely to say that is Narendra Modi.

“If Trump believes and is pushing arbitration knowing completely that India is opposed to any such intervention, then that is a very serious problem in our bilateral relations and would be a point of dispute,” he told the reporters.

Sherman added that while he doesn’t think that Trump’s statements will change US-India relations, it illustrates for Indians, the ‘level of amateurism’ that goes on in the White House, which is often beyond the ambit of control of the president’s advisers.

Rejecting any possibility of a change in US’ policy towards Kashmir, Sherman said, “This is a wild preposterous mis-statement of India’s policy which of course was corrected by everyone.”

Other than the Congressman, several other US officials played down the prospect of an active US role in mediating on Kashmir.

Soon after Trump's remarks, the US State Department said in a post on Twitter that it supported any dialogue between India and Pakistan but that Kashmir was a matter for the two countries.

"While Kashmir is a bilateral issue for both parties to discuss, the Trump administration welcomes Pakistan and India sitting down and the United States.

Foreign Minister Subrahmanyan Jaishankar, who was part of the Indian delegation at the G20 meeting in Japan where Trump and Modi met, rebutted that claim and told agitated legislators on Tuesday that Modi did not seek any help from Trump.

It has been India's consistent position that all outstanding issues with Pakistan are discussed only bilaterally, Jaishankar said. "Any engagement with Pakistan would require an end to cross-border terrorism," he said.

"The US president made certain remarks to the effect he was ready to mediate if requested by India and Pakistan. I categorically assure the house that no such request has been made by the prime minister, I repeat, no such request was made," he told parliament.

India snapped official dialogue with Pakistan on outstanding issues after Modi's government came to power in 2014 demanding that Pakistan first end cross-border terrorism.

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