India rejects US offer to mediate talks with Pakistan

India rejected an offer from the US to help de-escalate tensions between India and Pakistan on Tuesday, saying that its position on the bilateral redressal of all issues between the two countries has not changed. India further said that the international community needed to address the terrorism coming out of Pakistan.

"Government's position for bilateral redressal of all India-Pakistan issues in an environment free of terror and violence hasn't changed," Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Gopal Baglay said. 

"We, of course, expect the international community and organisations to enforce international mechanisms and mandates concerning terrorism emanating from Pakistan, which continues to be the single biggest threat to peace and stability in our region and beyond," he said.

Indian-American Nikki Haley
Indian-American Nikki Haley. Photo courtesy:

The reaction came after Indian-American Nikki Haley, the US permanent representative to the United Nations, said that the US was concerned about relations between India and Pakistan, and that President Donald Trump might get involved in a peace process between the two South Asian countries.

"This administration is concerned about the relationship between India and Pakistan and very much wants to see how we de-escalate any sort of conflict going forward," Haley, who holds a cabinet rank in the Trump administration, said. 

"I would expect that the administration is going to be in talks and try and find its place to be part of that process," the former governor of South Carolina said, adding that she "wouldn't be surprised if the president participates as well."

Haley’s comments were in response to a question from a reporter at her news conference on assuming the presidency of the Security Council for the month of April. 

US President Donald Trump (left) and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
US President Donald Trump (left) and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

During his campaign in 2016, US President Donald Trump had offered to mediate between India and Pakistan, but was careful to add that it was only if the two nations wanted him to.

While it is not clear what steps the US could take, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to meet Trump in Washington in May where the two could potentially discuss the matter.

With Secretary of State Rex Tillerson keeping a low public profile and generally avoiding the media, Haley is emerging as the face of US diplomacy, maintaining a strong media presence, aided by her cabinet status.

Her statement about India-Pakistan relations, therefore, is important, and is the first high-level Trump administration statement on India's relationship with Pakistan.

"We don't think we should wait until something happens," Haley said. "We very much think we should be pro-active in what we are seeing, tensions rise and conflicts seem to bubble up and so we want to see if we can be a part of that."

"So, that will be something you will see, that is something that members of the National Security Council participate in," she said.