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Kashmir: A temporary respite from meddling

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The overall expectations from the Group of Seven’s summit at Biarritz, France, were low due to both fears of disruption by US President Donald Trump, as happened at the last summit in Canada, and differences within the group over trade, climate change, digital tax, Iran and Russia. However, as the rest of the world worried about this dissonance in a small group of key global economies, India focussed on Mr Trump’s meegting “on the sidelines” of the summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The issue of concern was the repeated messaging by Mr Trump that he had been asked to or was ready to “mediate” between India and Pakistan over Kashmir.

The Indian strategy appears to have been to finesse the Kashmir issue in an off-the-record dinner interaction between President Trump and Prime Minister Modi. At their formal meeting the next day the focus remained on two issues that matter to the United States —trade and defence cooperation and deals. The Kashmir issue, as spelt our by Mr Trump, was discussed at great length and the conclusion was that India and Pakistan were to resolve it by themselves.

However, President Trump also noted that he was told by Mr Modi that India had the situation “under control”, and that India did “speak with Pakistan”, and thus the two neighbours can “do something that will be very good”. The conclusion that can be drawn from this is not that the US has now outsourced Kashmir handling to the leaders of India and Pakistan, but that for the time being the US will allow India space to restore normality in the Valley and lower tensions with Pakistan. Considering........

© Deccan Chronicle