WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump once again offered to mediate between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir issue, but absent New Delhi accepting his role, he suggested the two countries come together themselves and “do something that’s really smart” in view of India’s tough and unrelenting stance.
In a media pow-wow with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in New York just a day after a rousing event with Modi in Houston, Trump struck a conciliatory tone towards Pakistan even as Khan tried to flatter the U.S President into intervening in the Kashmir issue.
But as he had done before, Trump expressed helplessness in the absence of India acceding to the mediation and pretty much asked Khan to sort it out with Modi.
“I heard a very aggressive statement yesterday, I was there. I didn’t know I was going to hear that statement I have to say from India, from the Prime Minister,” Trump disclosed, suggesting he felt ambushed by the Indian Prime Minister’s sharp attack on Pakistan.
But having said that, Trump acknowledged that the “very aggressive statement was very well received by a large crowd” and he hoped that India and Pakistan will be able to come together and do something that is really smart for both countries.
Asked whether he was happy with the progress Pakistan had made in its fight against terrorism, Trump cautiously said he had heard that great progress had been made under Khan.
“I think he wants to make great progress.There’s no solution the other way. The other way [terrorism] is only going to lead to death and chaos and poverty. The PM understands this,” Trump said, indicating that he believed the onus was on Pakistan to turn off the spigot of terrorism that it has used.
Trump also made light of Imran Khan’s lament about living in a difficult neighborhood that in Washington’s view he has made even more difficult, joking, “it is a very friendly neighborhood.”
As Trump tried to walk a delicate line between his rousing endorsement of India yesterday and trying not to offend Pakistan, whose help the U.S needs in Afghanistan, Pakistani reporters surpassed Khan in flattery and trying to put words into the President’s mouth. Trump smacked down on one reporter who came up with a lengthy preface describing India as an aggressor and Pakistan as a peace maker, asking Khan “Where do you find reporters like this?”
“Are you from his [Imran Khan] team? You are saying things that you think. Yours is not a question but a statement,” Trump admonished the reporter.
When another reporter tried flattery saying Trump will be deserving of a Nobel Prize if he resolved the Kashmir issue, the US President replied, “I think I’m going to get a Nobel Prize for a lot of things if they gave it out fairly, which they don’t. They gave one to Obama…”