PHOTO BY: Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian

President Donald J. Trump speaks on the phone in the Oval Office

Washington, DC – In a phone conversation with Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan, Narendra Modi and Imran Khan respectively, US President Donald Trump stressed the need for peace in the region.

A readout of the conversation from the White House said, “Today, President Donald J. Trump spoke with Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India to discuss regional developments and the United States-India strategic partnership.”

Mentioning Pakistan by name, President Trump conveyed “the importance of reducing tensions between India and Pakistan and maintaining peace in the region.”

The White House added that the two leaders “further discussed how they will continue to strengthen United States-India economic ties through increased trade, and they look forward to meeting again soon.”

Later, in another readout the White House highlighted that President Trump “spoke by telephone with Prime Minister Imran Khan today to discuss the need to reduce tensions and moderate rhetoric with India over the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.”

The White House statement noted that the President reaffirmed “the need to avoid escalation of the situation, and urged restraint on both sides,” concluding, “The two leaders also agreed to work together to strengthen United States-Pakistan economic and trade cooperation.”

Pakistani leader Imran Khan has not yet tweeted since his last tweet on August 18. That tweet was: “The Hindu Supremacist Modi Govt poses a threat to Pakistan as well as to the minorities in India & in fact to the very fabric of Nehru & Gandhi’s India. To understand the link between Nazi ideology & the ethnic cleansing & genocide ideology of RSS-BJP Founding Fathers just Google.”

Tweets from Modi’s Office

Earlier in a string of tweets from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) of Narendra Modi in New Delhi, the telephone opportunity of “thirty-minute conversation covered bilateral and regional matters and was marked by the warmth and cordiality which characterizes the relations between the two leaders.”

“The Prime Minister recalled their meeting in Osaka on the margins of G-20 summit in end-June earlier this year,” the tweets said.

On the ongoing trade tensions with tariffs, Indian “Prime Minister expressed the hope that the Commerce Minister of India and the US Trade Representative would meet at an early date to discuss bilateral trade prospects for mutual benefit.”

Without mentioning Pakistan in its tweets, the PMO said, “PM highlighted the importance of creating an environment free from terror and violence and eschewing cross-border terrorism without exception.”

“In the context of the regional situation, PM @narendramodi stated that extreme rhetoric and incitement to anti-India violence by certain leaders in the region was not conducive to peace,” blamed the PMO statement, adding, “The Prime Minister reiterated India’s commitment to cooperate with anyone who followed this path, in fighting poverty, illiteracy and disease.”

On the Afghanistan issue, from where the US is trying to extricate itself and is in the concluding phase of talks with the Taliban, the PMO noted: “Recalling that today marked the one hundred years of the Independence of Afghanistan, the Prime Minister reiterated India’s longstanding and unwavering commitment to work for united, secure, democratic and truly independent Afghanistan.”

Indian Prime Minister in the PMO tweet “stated that he appreciated remaining in regular touch with President @realDonaldTrump.”

Kashmir Simmering

There has been enhanced rhetorical statements from both sides of the border of two nuclear-armed neighbors since India dumped article 370 which earlier provided special status to the North Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. India even bifurcated the state into two Union Territories, with Ladakh being designated as a new Union Territory. The region has been under complete lockdown with phone, Internet and other services suspended while the environment resembles a curfew like situation.

Over this weekend, the Indian authorities are announcing the relaxation of restrictions in a slow and cautious manner across the Valley.


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