(Reuters): US President Donald Trump said on Monday that India and Pakistan could handle their dispute over occupied Kashmir on their own, but he was there should they need him.

Trump has previously offered to mediate between India and Pakistan on the contested Himalayan region. New Delhi rejected the offer while Islamabad welcomed it.

He discussed the issue on the sidelines of a G7 summit in France with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who withdrew special autonomy for occupied Jammu and Kashmir on August 5.

Trump said Modi told him that he had Kashmir under control.

“We spoke last night about Kashmir, prime minister really feels he has it under control. They speak with Pakistan and I’m sure that they will be able to do something that will be very good,” the US president told reporters.

Modi, speaking alongside Trump, said that all issues between New Delhi and Islamabad were “bilateral in nature”.

US President Donald Trump meets Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for bilateral talks. — Reuters
“All issues between India & Pakistan are bilateral in nature, that is why we don’t bother any other country regarding them,” Modi said, according to ANI.

He said India and Pakistan were together before 1947 and that he was “confident that we can discuss our problems and solve them, together”.

The Indian premier also said he has told Prime Minister Imran Khan that they should work together for the welfare of their two countries.

Since India’s decision to strip Kashmiris of their seven-decade-long special autonomy through a rushed presidential order earlier this month, Prime Minister Imran has repeatedly said that the Indian government’s policy in the Himalayan region is in line with the “ideology” of the Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) party — said to be a parent organisation of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) — that believes in “Hindu supremacy”.

He has also alerted the international community to a possible “false flag operation” by the Indian leadership to “divert attention from massive human rights violations” in occupied Kashmir.

Lockdown enters the fourth week
A communications blackout and heavy restrictions on movement imposed by the Indian authorities from the eve of New Delhi’s decision to revoke Article 370 of its constitution entered their 22nd day today.

However, the turning of the restive region into a fortress of barricades and barbed wire has not prevented protests and clashes with security forces taking place. Police on Monday said stone-throwing protestors killed a truck driver in occupied Kashmir.

India says no civilian has died from police action since August 5. But residents have said three people have been killed, including a young mother who choked after police fired tear-gas canisters into her home.

Multiple hospital sources have told AFP at least 100 people had been hurt during the lockdown, some with firearm injuries.