World / Trump says ‘lot of progress’ in Indo-Pak ties, to meet PM Modi, Imran Khan

Hindustan Times : Sep 17, 2019, 11:23 AM

US President Donald Trump on Monday said a “lot of progress” has been made in India-Pakistan relations and that he looked forward to meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan premier Imran Khan shortly.

The American president, who has offered to mediate India-Pakistan disputes, including Kashmir, did not elaborate. “So, I will see Prime Minister Modi,” Trump told reporters and added, “I will be meeting both India and Pakistan”. He was perhaps referring to his meetings with the Prime Minister Modi — in Houston for the “Howdy, Modi!” event— and Imran Khan in New York.

“And I think a lot of progress has been made there, lot of progress,” Trump added.

A response was awaited from the White House to a request for an explanation of what President Trump meant given his recent offers to mediate the India-Pakistan dispute, which he has appeared to have given up after being told off politely by Prime Minister Modi — that India doesn’t want to “bother” any other nation or entity to resolve a bilateral problem.

The White House had yesterday confirmed that Trump will attend PM Modi’s diaspora outreach event—“Howdy, Modi!”— in Houston on September 22. The move is need as a strengthening of the personal equation between Modi and Trump and the fillip to relations between New Delhi and Washington.

Organisers said Trump will also address the Holuston even for which over 50,000 people have already registered. PM Modi thanked Trump and said his participation in “Howdy, Modi!” was “special gesture. This will be the third meeting between the two leaders this year. They earlier met on the margins of the G20 Summit in Japan and the G7 Summit in France.

Indian ambassador to the US Harsh Vardhan Shringla said Trump and Modi addressing the “Howdy, Modi!” event jointly is “unprecedented and historic” and reflected the “personal chemistry and friendship” between the two leaders.

PM Modi is visiting the US from September 21-27 for events in Houston and to address the UN General Assembly in New York.

Trump will travel to Ohio after Houston event and then is expected to fly to New York to attend the Annual General Assembly Sessions of the United Nations. He is likely to meet Imran Khan on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly Session in New York later this month.

Tensions between India and Pakistan escalated after New Delhi revoked special status for Jammu and Kashmir on August 5. Pakistan has been trying to internationalise the Kashmir issue but India has asserted that the abrogation of Article 370 was its “internal matter”.