US President Donald Trump has made it very clear that his offer to mediate between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue is not on the table anymore after New Delhi rejected it, India ambassador to the US, Harsh Vardhan Shringla, said on Monday (local time).
"President Trump has made it very clear that his offer to mediate on Jammu and Kashmir is dependent on both India and Pakistan. Since India has not accepted his offer, the president has made it clear that this is not on the table anymore," the Indian envoy said in an interview with Bret Baier of Fox News.
"It has been the United States long-standing policy. The United Nations Secretary-General was also very clear that this issue has to be resolved bilaterally between India and Pakistan in keeping with the agreements-- the Shimla Agreement and the Lahore declaration-- that the two countries had signed. This is not an issue that needs to be settled with a third party and President Trump has clarified it," Shringla added.
Tensions simmered between the two neighbours following New Delhi's historic decision to abrogate Article 370 that accorded special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and transform it into Union Territories, with effect from October 31.
Rattled by India's decision, Pakistan had initiated a series of measures against its neighbour, including the downgrading of bilateral ties and suspension of cross-border communication of railways and bus services.
Followingly, India had urged Pakistan to review its decision but the request was refuted by Islamabad.
Referring to the ongoing crisis in the region, Shringla stated, "India's decision is an administrative one. It is the 12th time that India is taking such reorgsation of states. It does not in any way impinge on the borders of Jammu and Kashmir or the international borders and it is, therefore, an internal matter of India."
"We have taken this decision because we have found that over 70 years the level of development in the state has been hampered due to the special status that it enjoyed, which was, in any case, a temporary provision in the Indian Constitution. And now the intention is to ensure good governance and socio-economic justice reaches the state," he added.
In the wake of India's decision, Pakistan has also urged the international community, including groups such as the Orgsation of Islamic Cooperation, to interfere in the matter and called for restraint against the so-called "illegal aggression" of New Delhi in the region.
( With inputs from ANI )