Washington, DC; New Delhi: US President Donald Trump has once again rectified his position. He has said the issue of Kashmir is a bilateral matter between India and Pakistan but he would be happy to mediate if the two countries wanted him to do so. “It’s really up to Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi (to accept the offer of mediation),” Trump told reporters responding to a question on India not accepting his offer of mediation on Kashmir.
On the previous occasion, White House had to issue a clarification while a Member of the House of Representatives claimed that he had apologised to the Indian Ambassador in Washington, DC. Last week, Trump had made a stunning claim that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked him to mediate on the vexed issue during their meeting in Japan, evoking a sharp reaction from India which denied Modi making any such request.
Addressing the issue of two similar comments of the POTUS that made certain forces here that are uncomfortable with the warmth in India-US relations clamour for a strongly worded Indian response, lawyer and nationalist thinker Amitabh Sinha said. “Jawaharlal Nehru’s wrong and short-sighted choice of a reliable partner out of the two superpowers post-Independence had pushed the United States towards Pakistan. Our hostile neighbour seized the opportunity and, all these years, built and cultivated their lobby in America,” he said, adding that India was a late starter in developing its interests on the American soil.
“If President Trump has made the statement of mediation twice in a short span,” Sinha said, “look at it as a demand of American politics. He is doing a balancing act before the pro-Pakistan, anti-India lobby that is disturbed by a clear shift in the American foreign policy that now favours India.”
While Trump’s comments are seen as an apparent climbdown from his last week’s remarks which were dismissed in India as ridiculous and highly unlikely given that New Delhi has consistently maintained that there is no room for a third party mediation on Kashmir, Sinha says, “Since our bilateral relations have improved remarkably, he is quick to be back in his elements and tow the Indian line of no third party intervention on the Kashmir issue.”
“Besides,” Sinha says, “Trump did not compel us. He just made an offer.” Before Trump had on Thursday rued that the issue of Kashmir had been going on for a long time, he was actually asked how he would “want to resolve the Kashmir issue”. It was then that Trump had said, “If I can, if they wanted me to, I would certainly intervene.” Sinha recalled that Trump had spoken when prodded to.
“This is clearly a difficult balancing act between humouring the Pakistani lobby in the US but being wary of inviting the ire of its new NATO-like ally in the world order,” Sinha said in reference to the US Senate’s 2 July legislative provision that brought India at par with America’s NATO allies and countries like Israel and South Korea for increasing defence cooperation.
“There are forces across the world and even in India, who are directly or indirectly supporters of jihadi terrorism, that do not like our country and the United States draw close. They would try all out to discredit Trump create an impression he is bossy, but we should not shower a bevvy of condemnations in a knee-jerk reaction to these statements,” Sinha said.
Sinha said. “Trump is an enemy of terrorism; he is fighting Islamic terrorism, which makes him India’s friend,” the lawyer said, adding, “No matter what the POTUS has said under whatever situation, he just cannot side with Pakistan, a state that sponsors terrorists.”