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25.02.2020 19:12 News >> In India, Trump Reiterates Mediation Offer On Kashmir

In India, Trump Reiterates Mediation Offer On Kashmir

US president declines to comment on citizenship law, says discussed religious freedom issue with Indian premeir Modi.

Describing the new controversial citizenship law as India's internal matter, visiting U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday said that he raised the issue of religious freedom during his discussions with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Trump, who held comprehensive talks with Modi on the second and the last day of his visit, said the Kashmir issue as a "big problem" between India and Pakistan.
Describing it "a thorn in a lot of people's sides" he also reiterated his offer to mediate between the two countries to ease the tension. "If anything, I can do to meditate, I will do," he said, adding that both sides had a lengthy discussion on Pakistan.
"I have a good equation with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. They are working to control cross-border terrorism," he said while addressing at a news conference at the U.S. mission in New Delhi.
Trump has offered to mediate between India and Pakistan on Kashmir on multiple occasions. Earlier this year, he reiterated the same during a meeting with Imran on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum assembly in Davos, Switzerland.
However, India has categorically rejected the offer, calling the issue an internal matter.
As communal violence engulfed parts of the Indian capital, Trump said he discussed the issue of "religious freedom" at length with Modi and that the Indian leader wants people to have this freedom.
"We discussed it. Prime Minister Modi said they work very closely with Muslims," Trump replied when asked if raised the allegations of discrimination against Muslims in India.
He also praised India for having worked hard for religious freedom.
"We did talk about religious freedom. Prime Minister Modi wants people to have religious freedom in India...If you look back India has worked hard for religious freedom," he said.
On India's new citizenship law, he said, "I don't want to say anything on this. It is up to India. I hope it will take the right decision for its people."
Asked if he discussed the incidents of violence taking place during his visit to the national capital, he said that he did not discuss individual attacks and "that is up to India".
- Everybody happy with Taliban deal
When questioned about his views on Modi's policies that critics allege are discriminatory to Muslims, Trump said, "We discussed Muslims and Christians and we talked about religious liberty. PM Modi told me that they are working very closely with the Muslim community."
When asked if India's concerns have been addressed while striking a deal with the Taliban to bring peace in Afghanistan, Trump said that everybody is happy with the deal.
"Everybody is happy about our deal with the Taliban, and India would also like this. We have been there [n Afghanistan] for 19 years and we are trying very hard. There is tremendous praise for what we are doing, "he added.
He said the U.S. and Taliban are "pretty close" to signing an agreement to formally end the war in Afghanistan.
"We're pretty close," Trump told reporters. "We've got two days now under our belt without violence" or with minimal violence, he said.
The U.S. and Taliban leaders intend to sign a peace deal on Feb. 29, provided that a week-long reduction in violence that started early Saturday remains in place.
When asked about Indian allegation of terrorism emanating from Pakistan, Trump said: "I have a very good relationship with Pakistan Prime Minister Khan. India is a brave nation, and I said I will help because my relationship with both the leaders is good. Anything I can do to meditate, I will do."
Trump claimed that nobody did more than he has fight terror.
"We killed Al-Baghdadi and took 100% of the Caliphate," said Trump and added that Russia, Syria, and Iran should also work towards tackling radical Islamic terrorism.
Earlier, US President met Indian business leaders. Among others, Mukesh Ambani, the Chairman of Reliance Industries, Anand Mahindra, chairman of Mahindra Group and Tata Sons Chairman N. Chandrasekaran were present at the meeting. -



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