On Monday, early in the afternoon in Washington, D.C., and around the time most people in New Delhi were going to bed, U.S. President Donald Trump livened up a press conference with a revelation that would shake relations between the United States and India, the world’s two biggest democracies: “I was with Prime Minister [Narendra] Modi two weeks ago. He actually said, ‘Would you like to be a mediator or arbitrator?’ I said, ‘Where?’ He said, ‘Kashmir.’”

Trump was seated beside a smiling Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is in Washington this week. Trump then added: “I’d love to be a mediator.”

Nearly 8,000 miles away, in New Delhi, government officials brushed off their disbelief and sprang into action. “No such request has been made,” tweeted Raveesh Kumar, a spokesman for India’s Ministry of External Affairs. But it didn’t end there. On Tuesday, as Indians woke up to the news, opposition leaders angrily demanded that Modi clarify what actually transpired between him and Trump on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Tokyo last month. While Modi has yet to respond, the country’s external affairs minister, S. Jaishankar, read out a statement in the upper house of parliament, diplomatically mirroring what his spokesman said: “I repeat, no such request was made by the prime minister to the U.S. president.”

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Source: Foreign Policy