WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump plans to hold discussions on Kashmir and human rights with Prime Minister Narendra Modi this weekend at the G7 summit in Biarritz.
A senior administration official who briefed reporters on Trump's agenda for the upcoming summit on Saturday said the Kashmir issue between India and Pakistan is expected to come up.
"President Trump will likely want to hear from Prime Minister Modi on how he plans to reduce regional tensions and uphold respect for human rights in Kashmir," the official said.
After a brief conversation with Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan on Tuesday, the US President once again offered his proposal to mediate on Kashmir, despite making it clear before that the ongoing dispute in the region should be resolved bilaterally by India and Pakistan.
Ramping up rhetoric against India, Pakistan is endlessly trying to involve the international community in the wake of New Delhi's historic decision to change the constitutional status of Jammu and Kashmir. This move comes despite the latter's, time and again, a reiteration that the matter is strictly "internal" to the country.
Following the initial quashing of his plans on mediation by New Delhi, Trump had reaffirmed his position that Kashmir remains a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan.
However, adhering to Khan's request on Tuesday, the US President changed his stance and offered to mediate on the issue once again.
Calling Kashmir a "complicated situation", Trump said, "A lot has to do with religion. You have the Hindus, and you have the Muslims. This has been going on for decades."
"The president is also calling for Pakistan to prevent cross-border infiltration across the Line of Control and stop groups based on its soil that have attacked India in the past," the official added.
Tensions have simmered between India and Pakistan following the BJP-led Centre's decision to revoke Article 370 that guaranteed special status to Jammu and Kashmir. In addition, the Indian Parliament also passed a 'Reorganisation' bill that divided the region into Jammu and Kashmir--with a legislature and Ladakh-without a legislature.
Rattled by India's move, Pakistan, last week, sent its Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi to China to seek its help at the United Nations Security Council, urging it to call an emergency meeting on the issue. However, four out of five permanent members in the United Nations did not support Pakistan's contentions over India's decision.
India, time and again, has also stated that Jammu and Kashmir is "entirely an internal matter" of the country and all steps were taken keeping in mind the bright future of people of the region.
Following Trump's initial offer to mediate on Kashmir, last month, New Delhi then had also categorically denied his request, saying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had never requested the US president to meditate on the issue.(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)