Mediator no more? Trump says India and Pakistan can solve Kashmir on their own


U.S. President Donald Trump appeared to back off his previous insistence on mediating in the Kashmir crisis in a closely watched encounter at the G7 in Biarritz on Monday.

Restive India-administered Kashmir was placed under a lockdown on the eve of the government's move on 5 August to abrogate laws that gave the Muslim-majority region greater autonomy and split it into two federally administered territories.

The decision heightened tensions between India and Pakistan, which control parts of Kashmir but lay claim to the entire region. They have fought two wars over Kashmir since gaining independence from Britain in 1947.

After Trump last week said he would do his "best to mediate" in Kashmir and described the situation in Kashmir as "very explosive", there was much anticipation of the bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the summit.

"We spoke last night about Kashmir and the Prime Minister (Modi) really feels he has it under control. Now, when they speak with Pakistan, I'm sure they will be able to do something, probably very good," Trump said ahead of the meeting.

India opposes any international mediation in Kashmir, though this has been repeatedly sought by Pakistan.

Asked if his offer to mediate was still on the table, he said "I'm here," but added he thinks that India and Pakistan could address the Kashmir issue on their own.

"I think they can do it themselves very well," Trump said. "They have been doing it for a long time."

"There are many bilateral issues between India and Pakistan and we don't want to trouble any third country. We can discuss and resolve these issues bilaterally," Modi said.    (dpa)

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