US President Donald Trump on Thursday has reiterated his offer to mediate between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue but said this time that it is up to New Delhi and Islamabad to decide on mediation and that he is ready to assist if both the neighbouring countries wanted him to solve the matter.
Trump's remarks comes days after his comment on Kashmir caused a stir in New Delhi. He claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked him to act as a mediator between India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir Issue.
However, India categorically denied that such a request was ever made by Modi and clarified that Kashmir is a bilateral issue between New Delhi and Islamabad.
On the mediation offer, Trump said "It is really up to PM Modi. And I met with Prime Minister [Imran] Khan; I got along great. I think they are fantastic people, Khan and Modi. I mean I would imagine they can get along very well," Trump said while responding to a question on India not accepting his offer of mediation on Kashmir.
"If I can -- if they wanted me to, I would certainly intervene. If they wanted somebody to intervene (on Kashmir issue) or to help them... and I spoke with Pakistan about that, and I spoke, frankly, to India about it. But that's been going on, that battle, for a long time," he added.
During his joint conference with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, Trump in his Oval office had claimed that Modi, during his bilateral meeting on the sideline of G-20 summit in Japan with him, had brought up the issue of Kashmir with him and asked him to meditate.
"So I was with Prime Minister Narendra Modi two weeks ago and we talked about this subject. And he actually said, would you actually like to be a mediator or arbitrator? Did I say, where? He said Kashmir because this has been going for many, many years. I was surprised at how long it has been going on," he had said
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar refuted that Modi ever made that request.
"We heard remarks by President Donald Trump in a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan, to the press that he is ready to mediate if requested by India and Pakistan, on Kashmir issue," he said in a statement to the Indian Parliament.
( With inputs from ANI )