India won't accept any mediation on Kashmir: Rajnath (Lead)

New Delhi, July 24 (IANS) Amid uproar, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh declared on Wednesday that there is "no question of accepting anybody's mediation on the Kashmir issue" but Congress members walked out demanding a statement from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Rajnath Singh told the Lok Sabha that External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar's assertion that Modi did not ask US President Donald Trump to mediate on Kashir should be taken as most authentic because he was present when the two leaders met in Japan.

Responding to the opposition's insistence that the Prime Minister should speak, Singh maintained that "there was no talk on Kashmir".

"It is true that talks between the US President and our Prime Minister took place but there was no talk on the Kashmir issue.

"I also want to clarify that there is no question of accepting anybody's mediation on Kashmir issue," he said, adding that this would violate the 1972 Shimla Agreement.

This was also a question of the nation's pride, he said. "We can accept everything. We can compromise on anything but we cannot compromise at the cost of our nation's pride."

If there were to be talks with Pakistan, he said, these would cover the Pakistan administered Kashmir as well.

But Congress members walked out of the House.

Earlier, there was uproar for a second straight day over Trump's claim that Modi had asked him to mediate on the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan.

As soon as the Question Hour started, Congress floor leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said: "It is an issue which is very much related to the Prime Minister himself."

After Speaker Om Birla interrupted him, there was sloganeering by Congress MPs against the government and Modi.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said: "If our Foreign Minister has clarified the position, why is there a problem?"

In an attempt to end the din, Birla allowed Chowdhury to speak.

Chowdhury again said: "After Trump's statement, everyone is discussing in the whole country about what the Prime Minister said on the issue. But the Prime Minister is not saying anything. We want to know what conversation took place between the Prime Minister and Trump."

Amid the noise, the Speaker continued the Question Hour. Opposition members then came near the Speaker's podium shouting "Prime Minister hai hai".

On Tuesday, Jaishankar categorically rejected Trump's statement and clarified in both Houses of Parliament that Modi made no such request to the US President.

--IANS

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