Kashmir is bilateral issue, US ready to assist: State Department

File photo. Photograph:( WION )

ANI Washington, United States Jul 23, 2019, 10.31 AM (IST)

Hours after President Donald Trump claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited him for third-party mediation on Kashmir issue, US State Department on Monday said that the matter is a bilateral issue concerning Islamabad and New Delhi, however, Washington is "ready to assist".

"While Kashmir is a bilateral issue for both parties to discuss, the Trump administration welcomes Pakistan and India sitting down and the United States stands ready to assist. We believe the foundation for any successful dialogue between India and Pakistan is based on Pakistan taking sustained and irreversible steps against militants and terrorists on its territory," US state department spokesperson told ANI.

"These actions are in line with Prime Minister Khan`s stated commitments, and Pakistan`s international obligations. We will continue to support efforts that reduce tensions and create an environment conducive for dialogue. This first and foremost means tackling the menace of terrorism. As the President indicated, we stand ready to assist," it added.

Earlier in the day, Trump said that Modi had asked him to act as a mediator to resolve the Kashmir issue.

"So I was with Prime Minister Narendra Modi two weeks ago and we talked about this subject. And he actually said, would you actually like to be a mediator or arbitrator? Did I say, where? He said Kashmir because this has been going for many, many years. I was surprised at how long it has been going on," said Trump, who was hosting Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan at the White House.

"It should be resolved, so he has to think the same thing, so maybe I will speak to him and we will see what we can do," he added.

However, the US state department in its statement did not comment on Trump's claim on Modi asking for his assistance to play the role of mediator to resolve Kashmir issue.

After Trump made remarks on Kashmir, India in a swift response clarified that no such request was made by Modi to the US President.

"We have seen @POTUS's remarks to the press that he is ready to mediate if requested by India & Pakistan, on Kashmir issue. No such request has been made by PM @narendramodi to US President. It has been India's consistent position," tweeted MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar.

"...that all outstanding issues with Pakistan are discussed only bilaterally. Any engagement with Pakistan would require an end to cross border terrorism. The Shimla Agreement & the Lahore Declaration provide the basis to resolve all issues between India & Pakistan bilaterally," he said in a subsequent tweet.

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Earlier in the day, Trump said that Modi had asked him to act as a mediator to resolve the Kashmir issue.