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Panelists observe that Trump’s gaffe is typical of his style of functioning

The Trump administration interlocutors moved for a quick damage-control after India denied asking for President Donald Trump’s intervention on the Kashmir issue. Will this embarrassing gaffe by Trump affect Indo-US relations? APN’s popular debate Mudda discussed the issue. Anchorperson Akshay posed the questions to panelists including  BJP’s Abhinav Jain, Kashmir expert Romesh Raina, political expert Rishi Mishra, defence expert (retd) Wing Commander Prafful Bakshi, former bureaucrat  SK Verma and APN consultant Govind Pant Raju.

Verma said: ”This is a most surprising statement by Trump. Requests are of two types—written or casual, oral. But I suspect that Trump has not really said it just like that. There must have been some kind of talk like this by Modi to Trump. There is no smoke without fire.”

Akshay said that neither the US media nor the US ministry officials have supported this statement by Trump. To this, Verma said: “India should send out a written statement on this.”

Raina said: “Kashmir is a part of India. It is PoK that is controversial. Full text of the statement means that now Pakistan is cooperating with America. Why is this so? US wants to withdraw from Afghanistan and needs Pakistan’s help for this. The affect of Trump’s statement can act as a boost to militancy in the Valley.”

Mishra said: “The US media is having a good laugh over Trump’s statement. It is an immature remark, just the way Trump is portrayed in the media. India has always stood for bilateral talks on Kashmir.”

Bakshi   said: “This statement reflects Trump’s inner desire.  Trump cannot afford its Afghanistan plan to go haywire.  But India has always made it clear that it is only for bilateral talks on Kashmir. Vested interests want the Kashmir issue to flare up like this. Some people are gleeful that Modi has supposedly made a faux pas, so the PM should make it all very clear.”

Mishra said: “We should register a strong protest with the US Embassy.”

Jain said: “It is the US that needs to make things clear. Even the US media does not believe Trump. Parties should remain united today and ask for clarification from US, and not train guns on Modi.”

Mishra said: “There might have been a language problem between Modi and Trump, and Modi might have been misunderstood.”

Bakshi   said: “No need for Modi to give out any clarification. India’s stature is too high to react on such an immature statement by Trump. Modi should ignore the remark.”

Verma said: “In today’s scenario, we are moving on as an ally of the US. In South East Asia, US trusts India. I believe that till Trump himself does not clarify, speculation on his remark shall remain rife. Or Modi should deny this statement clearly.”

Raina said: “It is a deliberate statement made to that country’s PM to who such statements would matter a lot. US needs Pak’s help, and Pak might have expected some kind of statement in its favour like this.  Pakistan has a strong lobby.”

Raju said: “I don’t think this remark should be given importance. The opposition might want to make this a mudda. Our PM does not need to send out any clarification on this.”

Mishra said:”White House too is not giving importance to this, US media has made fun of this, US legislators have brushed off this statement. US foreign ministry itself has diluted this statement.”

Jain said:”Did we take anyone’s help before going in for surgical strikes? Today, India needs no one’s help in its internal matters. India’s policy is clear, especially its foreign policy. Pak is uncomfortable of India’s growing clout.”

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