President Trump drops bombshell offer . . .
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan was in Washington to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump during a two-day visit earlier this week. During a media scrum with Khan on Monday, Trump revealed that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked him to help mediate the territorial dispute with Pakistan in the Jammu and Kashmir area. Indian Foreign Minister Raveesh Kumar denied that such a request had been made by Modi. The U.S. State Department issued a statement that same day confirming that the Kashmir dispute is in fact a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan, but that the U.S. does stand ready to assist.
A bilateral issue . . .
Following his visit, Khan commented on Twitter that he was surprised to hear India was asking for such a favour given the bilateral nature of the simmering issue. Following the 1971 Indo-Pakistani war, both India and Pakistan signed the 1972 Simla Agreement in which both sides agreed that any differences regarding the Kashmiri line of control would be handled bilaterally. The state of Jammu and Kashmir, created following the partition of India in 1947, has been the site of three Indo-Pakistani wars.
‘Trump Diplomacy' in high gear . . .
This isn’t the first time Trump’s off-hand comments have sparked an international controversy. The U.S. president said repeatedly that he could stop the case against Meng Wanzhou, the Huawei CFO who was arrested in Vancouver, as part of trade negotiations with China. The comments put Ottawa on the hot seat as it assured the world that the arrest and proceedings in the Meng case were not political, but judicial and subject to the rule of law. Trump’s latest salvo has definitely struck a nerve in India, raising furor in an important economy that is also increasingly a key partner for U.S. security efforts in the Indo-Pacific.