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Friday 24 January 2020

Donald Trump to Imran Khan: Mind your language

After his 30-minute conversation with Modi, Trump held a telephonic conversation with Khan, the second in less than a week

Washington, DC: US President Donald Trump has asked Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to “moderate rhetoric” with India over Kashmir, as he underlined the need of exercising “restraint” by both sides and avoid escalation of the “tough” situation in the region. Trump on Monday spoke separately to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Khan in his bid to ease fresh Indo-Pak tensions after India revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.

Trump’s suggestion to Khan came as Prime Minister Modi during his telephonic conversation with the US president conveyed that “extreme rhetoric and incitement” to anti-India violence by certain leaders in the region was not conducive to peace. After his 30-minute conversation with Modi, Trump held a telephonic conversation with Khan, the second in less than a week. Trump spoke with Khan to discuss “the need to reduce tensions and moderate rhetoric with India over the situation in Jammu and Kashmir,” the White House said in a readout of the call.

Continuing with his tirade against India over the Kashmir issue, Khan on Sunday had called the Indian government “fascist” and “supremacist”, alleging that it poses a threat to Pakistan as well as to the minorities in India. He also said the world must also seriously consider the safety and security of India’s nuclear arsenal as it impacts not just the region but the world.

During the conversation with Khan, Trump “reaffirmed the need to avoid escalation of the situation, and urged restraint” on both sides, the White House said. The two leaders also agreed to work towards strengthening US-Pakistan economic and trade cooperation, it added.

“Spoke to my two good friends, Prime Minister Modi of India, and Prime Minister Khan of Pakistan, regarding trade, strategic partnerships and, most importantly, for India and Pakistan to work towards reducing tensions in Kashmir,” Trump said in a tweet late on Monday.”A tough situation, but good conversations!” he said.

White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley said Trump spoke with Modi to “discuss regional developments” and the US-India strategic partnership. The president conveyed the importance of reducing tensions between India and Pakistan, and maintaining peace in the region, he said. “The two leaders further discussed how they will continue to strengthen United States-India economic ties through increased trade, and they look forward to meeting again soon,” Gidley added.

In his telephonic conversation with Trump, Modi highlighted the importance of creating an environment free from terror and violence and eschewing cross-border terrorism without exception, a Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) release said in New Delhi on Monday. The conversation between Modi and Trump took place two days after the US president asked Khan to resolve the Kashmir issue with India bilaterally. Tensions between India and Pakistan spiked after India abrogated provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution to withdraw Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and bifurcated it into two Union Territories, evoking strong reactions from Pakistan.

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