Donald Trump Kashmir remark: President doesn’t make things up, says aide

Trump’s Chief Economic Advisor dismisses questions on PM Modi’s request to mediate on J&K

Published - July 23, 2019 10:47 pm IST - Washington

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday

U.S. President Donald Trump “does not make up things”, a top presidential adviser said on Tuesday when asked about his statement that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked him to mediate on the Kashmir issue. India has strongly refuted Mr Trumps’s remarks.

It is “a very rude question”, Mr. Trump’s Chief Economic Advisor Larry Kudlow said at the White House when a journalist, following up on the president’s remarks, asked if it was made up.

“The President does not make anything up. That’s a very rude question in my opinion. I am going to stay out of that. It’s outside of my lane. It’s for Mr. [National Security Advisor John] Bolton, Mr. [Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo and President, so I am not going to comment on that. President does not make things up,” he said.

However, former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns, who played a key role in the India-U.S. civil nuclear deal during the Bush Administration, said, “This is embarrassing, to say the least, for President Trump. His claim that PM Modi asked him to mediate the Kashmir conflict was denied categorically by Delhi. This is what happens in diplomacy when you make things up.”

Mr. Trump offered to be the “mediator” between India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue during a press meet with Prime Minister Imran Khan at the White House. Mr. Trump, who is known to make inaccurate statements, said Prime Minister Modi had asked him to mediate on Kashmir when they met in Osaka on the sidelines of the G20 Summit last month.

India has not been engaging with Pakistan since an attack on the Air Force base at Pathankot in January of 2016 by Pakistan-based terrorists, maintaining that talks and terror cannot go together.

Speaking in the Rajya Sabha, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar refuted that Mr. Modi ever made that request. “I would like to categorically assure the House that no such request has been made by the Prime Minister to the U.S. President. I repeat, no such request was made by the Prime Minister to the U.S. President,” he said.

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