Hours after US President Donald Trump reiterated his offer to mediate on the border dispute between India and China, saying he spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is not in a "good mood" over the "big conflict", sources in the government denied any "recent contact" between the two leaders.
There has been no recent contact between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump, government sources said on Friday. The clarification came after Trump said in Washington that he spoke to Modi over India's ongoing border row with China in Eastern Ladakh.
On Tuesday, Trump offered to mediate between India and China to resolve the border dispute. "The last conversation between Modi and Trump was on April 4 on the subject of hydroxychloroquine," a source said.
On Thursday, the Ministry of External Affairs made it clear that India is directly in touch with the Chinese side through established mechanisms and diplomatic contacts to resolve the row. Interacting with journalists in the Oval Office of the White House on Thursday, Trump said a "big conflict" was going on between India and China.
"They like me in India. I think they like me in India more than the media likes me in this country. And, I like Modi. I like your prime minister a lot. He is a great gentleman," he said. "They have a big conflict ...India and China. Two countries with 1.4 billion people (each). Two countries with very powerful militaries. India is not happy and probably China is not happy," the president said when asked if he was worried about the border situation between India and China.
"I can tell you; I did speak to PM Modi. He is not in a good mood"
"I can tell you; I did speak to Prime Minister Modi. He is not in a good mood about what is going on with China," Trump said. A day earlier, the president offered to mediate between India and China. Responding to a question on his tweet, Trump reiterated his offer, saying if called for help, "I would do that (mediate). If they thought it would help" about "mediate or arbitrate, I would do that," he said.
India on Wednesday said it was engaged with China to peacefully resolve the border row, in a carefully crafted reaction to Trump's offer to arbitrate between the two Asian giants to settle their decades-old dispute.
We are engaged with the Chinese side to peacefully resolve it," External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said, replying to a volley of questions at an online media briefing. "The two sides have established mechanisms both at military and diplomatic levels to resolve situations which may arise in border areas peacefully through dialogue and continue to remain engaged through these channels," he said.
While the Chinese Foreign Ministry is yet to react to Trump's tweet which appears to have caught Beijing by surprise, an op-ed in the state-run Global Times said both countries did not need such help from the US president.
"The latest dispute can be solved bilaterally by China and India. The two countries should keep alert on the US, which exploits every chance to create waves that jeopardise regional peace and order," it said. Trump's unexpected offer came on a day when China took an apparently conciliatory tone by saying that the situation at the border with India is "overall stable and controllable."