IRSHAD SALIM — Hours after President Donald Trump said he’s ready to mediate the Kashmir issue between India and Pakistan– two nuclearized neighbors who almost went to war in February, Delhi denied POTUS was asked by Indian Premier Narendra Modi on the sidelines of G20 Summit few weeks back to mediate the conflict.
The beef: Trump’s willingness to arbitrate the K-issue:
“I was with Prime Minister [Narendra] Modi two weeks ago. We talked about the subject and he actually said, ‘Would you like to be a mediator or arbitrator?’. I said where, he said Kashmir, because it has been going on for many, many years.
“I was surprised to know how long it has been going on. I think they would like to see it resolved, you [Pakistan] would like to see it resolved […] and if I can help, I would love to become a mediator,” said Trump.
(But) no such request has been made by Prime Minister Modi to the US President,” asserted Raveesh Kumar, official spokesman of India’s Ministry of External Affairs. However, on Tuesday, one of POTUS’ top presidential advisor weighed in, saying, the President “does not make up things”.
It is “a very rude question,” Trump’s Chief Economic Advisor Larry Kudlow told reporters at the White House when a journalist following up on the president’s remarks asked if it was made up.
“The president doesn’t make things up,” Kudlow said.
Nevertheless, at the end of the day, the world watched as no one other than the head of the numero uno super power offered to mediate in the K issue and therefore now stands internationalized even with Delhi’s denial and insistence that it’s a bilateral matter.
Another of India’s beef.
Until now, human rights abuses reports twice published by the UN and Kashmiri youth’s daily bloody face-offs with Indian security forces have made it to the international media and governments worldwide.
While Imran said he was “surprised” by the reaction given by India to President Trump’s offer to mediate to enable dialogue for resolving the territorial dispute, his subsequent statement adds salt and pepper to Delhi’s beef on the issue: Conflict resolution (with help of 3rd party).
Khan’s statement, “Generations of Kashmiris have suffered & are suffering daily and need conflict resolution,” and the PM stressing that “the Kashmir dispute has held the subcontinent hostage for 70 years”, added weight.
Yet another beef India seems to have is:
US no longer willing to act as “policemen” in So Asia…
“Pakistan is going to help us extricate ourselves”: Trump
For long, India desired the US act as policeman in the region and be posted in Afghanistan. That this desire may not be fulfilled is one of the real beefs Delhi now seems to have.
In so far as ‘Where’s the beef’ and ‘Show me the money’ are concerned, Pakistan seems to have gotten more than a firm handshake, a pat on the arm, walk by inside the White House and not a ‘do more’ this time. Instead, Trump told the world media inside Oval office alongside Khan, “Pakistan is helping us a lot now on Afghanistan.”
“I think Pakistan is going to do a lot. I really do. I think Pakistan is going to make a big difference. I think Pakistan will save millions of lives in Afghanistan because I really believe they can — they have a power that other nations don’t have with respect to Pakistan,” he said.
Quarter Pounder, I say…and the topping: “It is a great country, they are very great people. I have many friends from Pakistan […] they are great people, smart, tough — they are tough, there is no question about that. They are like him [pointing to PM Imran], they are tough.”
Said Trump: “I have heard so much about Kashmir; it’s a beautiful place.” Here you go. POTUS loves vacation, golf, hamburgers, and tweeting before, during and after he watches news on the TV.
Trump also said that the US is willing to invest in Pakistan and sees great trade opportunities there. He also talked about expanding trade “10, 20 times”.
On being asked whether he would ever go to Pakistan, Trump joked that while he had yet to be invited by PM Imran, he would “love to” visit one day.
The latest is that Khan invited Trump to Pakistan, and POTUS agreed to visit the ‘wonderful country’ he had at one point described the country he is banking on for bringing peace in the region and end to US pursuit for military solution.
PM Khan later met First Lady Melania Trump.
Probably another of India’s beef.
All these add up to more than a Double Decker with cheese, plus apple pie for Khan. That’s more than the beef Khan Sahib had probably wished for– and these are by the way Delhi’s beef as the two leaders synced. Well, it takes two to tango in putting the past behind.
Move over Trump’s critics. The POTUS just added peace pipe to his armory.
Irshad Salim, a business consultant and analyst is presently based in Islamabad. He’s also the Editor-in-Chief of despardes.com and pkonweb.com.