Trump offers to mediate between India and Pakistan, praises relationship with PM Imran | World


NEW DELHI: US President Donald Trump on Tuesday reiterated his offer to mediate between India and Pakistan to resolve tensions, saying that the two countries had been working on Kashmir for a long time. 

Speaking to media, the US president said that he had good relations with Prime Minister Imran and once again, saying that he and Modi had “talked a lot about Pakistan” today. 

“I have a very good relationship with Prime Minister Khan,” he said, stating that his relationship with “both gentlemen [Modi and Imran Khan] is very good”.

He said that “there has been difficulty in Pakistan and we’re seeing what we can do about it”. “Anything I can do to mediate, and to help I would. They’re working on Kashmir. Kashmir has been a thorn in a lot of people’s sides for a long time and there are two sides to every story, but they have been working on that for a long time” he said. 

The US president stated that “Modi will take care of it [terrorism],” saying that the Indian prime minister had the issue foremost on his mind.

In response to a question, Trump said that he discussed the issue of religious freedom in India, saying that he got a very “powerful answer” from the Indian prime minister. 

“We talked about religious liberty for a long time, in front of a lot of people and I had a very, very powerful answer from him [Modi],” he said. 

When asked about India’s controversial citizenship law, Trump said he did not want to comment on it. “I want to leave that to India and hopefully they will make the right decision for the people,” he said. 

“You have been criticised for your policies against Muslims, so were you in a position to talk about the current Indian polices,” asked a reporter. At this, the US president replied: “I won the travel ban, and we use it where we think it is necessary, and not based on a religion. We won it in the Supreme Court and we bar those people from travelling to our country who might hurt our citizens,” he said. 

India charging too much tariff and it’s unfair, says Trump

In response to a question, the US president said that the US was being charged a lot of tariff by the Indian government. He said that he knew that while the previous administration was not aware. “We’re being charged large amounts of tariffs. Can’t do that, you can’t do that,” he said. 

Trump said that he was in India to make a deal and it was going to happen. “They {Indian government] want to do that, they will do that. I did a deal with China when everybody said I could not do a deal with China,” he added. 

Trump said that the US was being charged a lot of tariff when its goods were sent to India and it was not the other way around. “When Harley Davidson sends its motorcycles to India it’s, they get charged a lot of tariff. When motorcycles from India are sent to the US it’s virtually no tariff, for the most part, there is absolutely no tariff,” he added. The US president said that “it’s unfair and we’re working it out”.

He said that it was not a fair situation when American companies were paying a lot of tariff, saying that taxes were raised “not too long ago”. Trump said, “It has to be reciprocal, the United States wants that and India understands that,” he added. He said that the deficit between the US and India was $24 billion, which previously stood at $30 billion.”It’s still too high,” he said. 

Trump said that if the US and India did not make a trade deal, then they would do something else that would be satisfactory.

Read moreTrump welcomes PM Imran to White House, offers to mediate Kashmir dispute

This is not the first time that the US president has offered to mediate between India and Pakistan. In July 2019, during PM Imran’s maiden press conversation with Trump, the US president offered to mediate between India and Pakistan on Kashmir. 

“I will say that we have a very good relationship with India. I know that your relationship was strained a little bit … maybe a lot,” Trump had said during the press conference. “But we will be talking about India, it will be a big part of the conversation today.”

“If I can help, I would love to be a mediator. If I can do anything to help, let me know,” the US president had added.

Trump’s statement evoked a sharp response from India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, who said that New Delhi would not accept third-party mediation on Kashmir. 

“India has been clear for 40 odd years that we would not accept mediation… and that whatever has to be discussed bilaterally,” he had said. 

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