Washington: US President Donald Trump on Monday said he will be meeting the prime ministers of India and Pakistan soon, even as he maintained that tension between the two Asian countries had reduced.
While Trump will address Indian-Americans, along with PM Modi, at the "Howdy Modi!" event in Houston on September 22, the American president did not say when or where will he be meeting PM Khan. "I'll see Prime Minister Modi and I will -- we'll -- be meeting with (prime ministers of) India and Pakistan," Trump told reporters in response to a question at the White House on Monday.
According to Trump's schedule, he could meet the Pakistani Prime Minister on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly Session in New York later this month. After addressing a record crowd of more than 50,000 Indian-Americans at the "Howdy Modi!" event, Trump will travel to Ohio and then is expected to fly to New York to attend the Annual General Assembly Sessions of the United Nations.
Without mentioning Kashmir, Trump said a "lot of progress has been made in reducing tension" between India and Pakistan. Tension between India and Pakistan escalated after New Delhi revoked Jammu and Kashmir's special status on August 5. Reacting to India's move on Kashmir, Pakistan downgraded diplomatic ties with New Delhi and expelled the Indian High Commissioner. Pakistan has been trying to internationalise the Kashmir issue but India has asserted that the abrogation of Article 370 was its "internal matter". New Delhi has also asked Islamabad to accept the reality and stop its anti-India rhetoric.
The "Howdy, Modi!" event would the first time that an American president addresses thousands of Indian-Americans at one place in the US. It comes ahead of the 2020 presidential elections in the US in which the influential Indian-American community members are expected to play a greater role. President Trump, a Republican, has already announced his candidature.
India's Ambassador to the US Harsh Vardhan Shringla has called Trump's participation in the "Howdy, Modi!" event "historic" and "unprecedented". "It is reflective of the strong bonds of friendship and cooperation that has developed between India and the US," Shringla told PTI.
By Lalit K Jha/PTI