Indian opposition wants Modi to clarify Trump Kashmir claim

Opposition leaders are angrily demanding Modi clarify his position in Parliament about Trump mediating India's dispute with Pakistan over Kashmir

NEW DELHI -- Indian opposition leaders on Tuesday angrily demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi clarify his position in Parliament about President Donald Trump mediating in India's long-running dispute with Pakistan over Kashmir.

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar read out a statement in the upper house of Parliament saying Modi made no such request to Trump as the U.S. president had claimed.

It has been India's consistent position that all outstanding issues with Pakistan are discussed only bilaterally, Jaishankar said. "Any engagement with Pakistan would require an end to cross-border terrorism," he said.

Members in both houses of Parliament demanded that Modi make a statement on the issue. Opposition leaders Anand Sharma and D. Raja said it was a serious matter.

Trump said Modi recently asked him whether he would like to be a mediator or arbitrator on Kashmir. Trump spoke to reporters in Washington before Monday's meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.

India and Pakistan have fought two wars over Kashmir, the Himalayan territory they both claim and which is divided between them. India accuses Pakistan of arming and training insurgents who have been fighting since 1989 for Kashmir's independence from India or its merger with Pakistan. Islamabad denies the charge. About 70,000 people have been killed in the uprising and the ensuing Indian crackdown.

India snapped official dialogue with Pakistan on outstanding issues after Modi's government came to power in 2014 demanding that Pakistan first end cross-border terrorism.