NEWS
26/08/2019 4:47 PM IST | Updated 26/08/2019 5:59 PM IST

PM Modi Was Forced To Participate In A Press Conference, Thanks To Trump

The Indian Prime Minister, who has often faced criticism for not holding press conferences at home, found himself an inadvertent part of one as US President Donald Trump took questions from reporters.

PMO/Twitter

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday reiterated that Kashmir was a bilateral issue when he met US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the G7 Summit in France.

The two leaders spoke to the media ahead of their one-on-one talks and Modi, who has often faced criticism at home for not holding press conferences, found himself inadvertently participating in one as Trump took questions from reporters.

Modi and Trump said they spoke about Kashmir.

“All issues between India and Pakistan are bilateral. I believe together we can sort out our issues,” Modi said. He also said there was no scope for third-party mediation.

Trump has previously offered to mediate between India and Pakistan on Kashmir, which India has rejected.

The US president said the two leaders spoke about Kashmir on Sunday night.

“The Prime Minister really feels he has it under control. They speak with Pakistan and I’m sure that they will be able to do something. They can do it themselves,” he said.

In his opening remarks to the press, Modi said, “When I called Pakistan PM after he won elections, I told him that both countries need to fight against poverty, illiteracy and other bigger issues. We need to overcome our differences and work together.”

On August 16, ten days after the abrogation of Article 370 which removed Kashmir’s special status, India’s envoy to the UN Syed Akbaruddin said Pakistan would have to stop terror to start talks.

Notably, on Monday, most of the questions from the press were directed at Trump while Modi sat beside him.

A question on US’s threat to pull out of the WTO was directed at both the leaders. When prompted to answer the question, Modi said, “Let us speak between ourselves and then we’ll communicate to you.”

This is among the few times the prime minister has answered a question from a reporter at a press conference.

On May 17 this year, Modi held his first press conference since BJP came to power, with party president Amit Shah. However, he took no questions from the press. After making a statement to the media, he referred a question directed at him to Shah.