US president Donald Trump has said he spoke with “two good friends” Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan’s Imran Khan and urged them to “work towards reducing tensions in Kashmir” hours after his phone calls to the two leaders.
The telephone conversations between the leaders have come amid heightened tensions between India and Pakistan after New Delhi’s decision on August 5 to revoke Kashmir’s special status and split the state into two Union territories.
“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. A tough situation, but good conversations!” Trump tweeted.
Trump’s call with Pakistan’s prime minister Imran Khan - the second in less than a week - came soon after a 30-minute conversation with Modi on Monday, during which the Indian leader said that “extreme rhetoric and incitement to anti-India violence” wasn’t conducive to peace.
A White House statement said Trump in his conversation with Modi had “conveyed the importance of reducing tensions between India and Pakistan and maintaining peace in the region”.
With Imran Khan, Trump talked about the “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.
Over the past few days, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has repeatedly accused India of having plans to trigger a military conflict in Kashmir, even saying that his country’s army had information that the Indian government intended to “take action” in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. India has dismissed these allegations and described the changes in Kashmir as purely an internal matter.
India has for long linked any sort of engagement to Pakistan ending its support for terror groups based on its soil. This condition has been reiterated by the Indian leadership in the wake of the changes in Kashmir.
India earlier this month had abrogated the provisions of Article 370 on the Constitution to withdraw Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and bifurcated it into two Union Territories, evoking strong reactions from Pakistan.
Trump’s phone conversation with Modi was the first contact between the two leaders since the US president triggered a storm by offering, during a July 22 meeting with Khan, to mediate on the Kashmir issue. Since then, the US administration has clarified that there has been no change in its position on Kashmir, which should be handled bilaterally by India and Pakistan.