US President Donald Trump in a statement to reporters on Minday said that he would meet both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan soon.
He maintained that tensions between India and Pakistan had reduced since last month. While President Trump will address Indian-Americans along with PM Modi at the “Howdy Modi!” event in Houston on Sunday, the American president did not say when or where he would meet Imran Khan.
“I’ll see Prime Minister Modi and I will, we’ll be meeting with (prime ministers of) India and Pakistan and I think a lot of progress has been made there…lot of progress,” President Trump told reporters in response to a question at the White House, without mentioning Kashmir.
Trump’s schedule suggests that his meeting with Imran Khan may take place 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 he is expected to fly to New York to attend the Annual General Assembly Sessions of the United Nations.
Tensions between India and Pakistan escalated after New Delhi ended special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 on August 5. Reacting to India’s move on Kashmir, Pakistan downgraded diplomatic ties with India.
Pakistan has been trying to internationalise the Kashmir issue but India has asserted that the decision on Article 370 was its internal matter. New Delhi has also told Islamabad to accept the reality and stop its anti-India rhetoric.
The “Howdy, Modi!” event will be 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 significant 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,” Mr Shringla told news agency Press Trust of India.
President Trump will travel to Houston, Texas and Wapakoneta in Ohio to underscore important partnerships between the United States, India and Australia, the White House in a statement said.
In a statement, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said, “It (Modi-Trump joint rally) will be a great opportunity to emphasize the strong ties between the people of the United States and India, to reaffirm the strategic partnership between the world’s oldest and largest democracies, and to discuss ways to deepen their energy and trade relationship.”