Unlike President Trump, the US State Department has adopted a more careful approach to the evolving situation in Kashmir and the region. The State Department went into damage control mode after Trump’s mediation offer. Post August 5, the US foreign policy establishment has tried to walk a tightrope on Kashmir

On its part, India has stressed that the temporary restrictions in the Valley are required to thwart terror threats and prevent large-scale violence.

The US’s mixed messaging on Kashmir continues. Days after US President Donald Trump steered clear of his earlier mediation offer and indicated during the G7 Summit in France that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had told him that things were under control in Kashmir, US officials said they were “very concerned” with the communication clampdown and continued detentions in the Valley.

A State Department spokesperson said on Thursday, “We continue to be very concerned by reports of detentions and the continued restrictions on the residents of the region. We urge respect for human rights, compliance with legal procedures, and inclusive dialogue with those affected. We welcome Prime Minister Modi’s statement that Jammu and Kashmir will soon return to a normal political status.”

The statements coming out of Washington indicate that the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has a challenging task ahead as it seeks to present New Delhi’s point of view to key world powers, especially the US, in the aftermath of the Modi government’s move to end the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.

Trump’s Shifting Stance

President Trump, while addressing the media at the White House jointly with Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan on July 22, made the stunning claim that PM Modi had sought his mediation on Kashmir. The US president added that he was ready to play the role of mediator.

Though New Delhi was quick to reject Trump's claim that Modi had asked him to mediate, and forcefully reiterated its stance on Kashmir being a bilateral issue, the US president’s remarks must have come as a rude shock to India.

Trump, who is known to flip-flop on key issues, appeared to do a U-turn during the G7 summit on August 26, when he agreed with PM Modi, who was sitting beside him, that Kashmir was a “bilateral issue”.

Between July 22 and August 26, of course, the Modi government in a dramatic move changed the status quo in Jammu and Kashmir (in the first week of August) by ending the region’s special status and splitting the state into two union territories.

However, just days before his remarks in France, Trump had again appeared to be toying with the idea of mediation. “We are helping the situation but there are tremendous problems between the two countries, and I would do my best to mediate or something,” the US president had said.

Is that the last time Trump used the ‘M’ word? With the 45th US president, you can never be too sure.