Imran Khan, Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, made his first visit to the Trump White House on Monday. During a press event with President Donald Trump, the United States' leader announced he was ready to mediate an agreement between Pakistan and India over the disputed territory of Kashmir.
Claiming to have spoken to India Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the G20 Summit in Japan, Trump stated to Khan:
"If I can help, I would love to be a mediator. If I can do anything to help, let me know."
The US President added:
“I was with Prime Minister Modi two weeks ago and we talked about this subject. And he actually said, 'would you like to be a mediator or arbitrator?' I said, 'where?' [Modi said] 'Kashmir'."
There was one major problem with the President's plan to aid in negotiations: it appears to have been completely made up out of whole cloth.
Raveesh Kumar, India Ministry of External Affairs Official Spokesperson, corrected the President's false claim on Twitter.
We have seen @POTUS's remarks to the press that he is ready to mediate, if requested by India & Pakistan, on Kashmi… https://t.co/WEVHyMhwXL— Raveesh Kumar (@Raveesh Kumar)1563820127.0
...that all outstanding issues with Pakistan are discussed only bilaterally. Any engagement with Pakistan would req… https://t.co/ApwBL6nuxq— Raveesh Kumar (@Raveesh Kumar)1563820128.0
Watch Trump's statement claiming he spoke to Modi about Kashmir here.
As with so many topics, it appears that the President is unfamiliar with the long history of the dispute between Pakistan and India over Kashmir.
And when one is uninformed, it is best to remain silent.
The Financial Times' former India bureau chief, Edward Luce, explained why the President's ignorance of the issues created a problem for future relations with India.
Worth elaborating on the level of incompetence Trump showed today on Kashmir. Those unfamiliar with Indo-Pak situat… https://t.co/fi49aLEado— Edward Luce (@Edward Luce)1563844781.0
He lied in the most idiotic way possible - one that would e immediately refuted by a fellow leader. "I was with Mod… https://t.co/NkkWAyuad9— Edward Luce (@Edward Luce)1563849101.0
Within an hour India declared that what Trump said was false: https://t.co/EEpFgGqkoy The slightest knowledge of In… https://t.co/V9huo3WLpM— Edward Luce (@Edward Luce)1563849103.0
Finally, it emboldens Pakistan in its belief that it can play America for a sucker. Imran Khan, Pakistan's PM, coul… https://t.co/yZuR5641Wx— Edward Luce (@Edward Luce)1563849103.0
He is the vainest leader on the planet; and he is profoundly ignorant. He thinks he can solve any crisis - his own… https://t.co/pUh2us4fTh— Edward Luce (@Edward Luce)1563849104.0
To recap: Trump lied on a big subject. He was instantly exposed. The slightest knowledge of the subject would have… https://t.co/ffkkhigZM6— Edward Luce (@Edward Luce)1563845846.0
@EdwardGLuce I seriously doubt Trump even knew where Kashmir was on a map until now, or it's history. India & Pakis… https://t.co/0AzLfufz2M— Arcfontis (@Arcfontis)1563891844.0
@arcfontis @EdwardGLuce Profanely ignorant— Sarah (@Sarah)1563895801.0
@EdwardGLuce The only Kashmir that buffoon knows is the song. Oh wait, he’s not that cool.— TamaraMuyskens (@TamaraMuyskens)1563893334.0
@EdwardGLuce Narcissistic sociopathy! https://t.co/JqxcIsW4eD— LollTheDoll (@LollTheDoll)1563891218.0
Some felt an apology was owed to India.
@MEAIndia @POTUS @narendramodi Sorry, but our president is a pathological liar and a career con man. He couldn't te… https://t.co/WIyZk0TDMn— John Mize (@John Mize)1563822849.0
@EdwardGLuce "He's a disaster. We apologize to everyone."- America.— Fatty McGee (@Fatty McGee)1563897285.0
Additional video of the President's remarks during his meeting with Khan, which involved discussion of US forces leaving Afghanistan, was also cited for ignorance of the complexities of warfare and international relations as well as self-aggrandized claims of superiority by Trump.
The President said he had a plan that would win a war with Afghanistan in a week.
India is not a part of any major military alliances, but it has close strategic and military relationships with most of the world's major powers, including the United States.
To learn more about the history of modern India, the book India After Gandhi: The History of the World's Largest Democracy is available here.