PM Modi Speaks To Donald Trump Amid Tension With Pakistan Over Kashmir


PM Modi held a half-hour long conversation with Donald Trump

New Delhi:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today had a telephonic conversation with US President Donald Trump – a first since the government announced its decision on Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan's subsequent attempts to raise the issue in international forums. Besides bilateral issues, the two leaders discussed the regional situation, during which the Prime Minister "stated that extreme rhetoric and incitement to anti-India violence by certain leaders in the region was not conducive to peace," the government said.

"He highlighted the importance of creating an environment free from terror and violence and eschewing cross-border terrorism without exception," a statement added, indicating that the Prime Minister has underscored New Delhi's stance.

The conversation come days after the White House reported a discussion between President Trump and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, during which the President had pushed for talks between New Delhi and Islamabad.

On Friday, after the White House statement, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said, "Prime Minister Khan conveyed Pakistan's concern on recent developments in Kashmir and the threat they pose to regional peace".

Last week, Pakistan's attempts to create a stir in the United Nations Security Council over Kashmir fell flat after most of the participating nations agreed that the ending the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and dividing it into two union territories was a bilateral matter between New Delhi and Islamabad.

The meeting of the 15 nations – five permanent members and 10 rotating members – ended without any resolution, which was seen as a massive snub to Pakistan and its all-weather ally China.

Signalling India's tough stand, Union minister Rajnath Singh said India reserves the right to revoke its 'No First Use' pledge — the cornerstone of its nuclear weapons policy for decades. The minister also suggested that should bilateral talks happen between the two nations, it would not be on Jammu and Kashmir, but Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir — the territory under Pakistan's control since its invasion in 1947.

President Trump had recently offered to mediate on Kashmir if India and Pakistan agreed. During a joint media appearance with Imran Khan at the White House, he also stunned India by saying that PM Modi sought his "mediation" on the Kashmir issue – a claim India denied.

Days after the Centre's move, President Trump made it clear that the offer was no longer on the table, said Harsh Vardhan Shringla, India's ambassador to the US.

"President Trump has made it very clear that his offer to mediate on Jammu and Kashmir is dependent on both India and Pakistan accepting it. Since India has not accepted the offer of mediation, he has made it clear that this is not on the table anymore," Mr Shringla said in an interview to US-based news channel.

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