Islamabad    -   US President Donald Trump has again offered to mediate between Pakistan and India on the Kashmir dispute.

The reiteration of the offer, originally made last month during Prime Minister Imran Khan's visit to the United States, received a warm welcome from Islamabad and a rebuff from New Delhi.

Questioned on Thursday by a reporter about India's rejection of his offer for mediation on Kashmir, Trump asked, "Have they accepted the offer or not?" When the questioner replied in negative, the US president said: "It is really up to Prime Minister [Narendra] Modi."

"I met Prime Minister [Imran] Khan, I got along great with [the premier]. I think they are fantastic people — Khan and Modi — I mean, I would imagine they [also] could get along very well," he went on to say.

"But if they wanted somebody to intervene, to help them... and I spoke with Pakistan about that and I spoke frankly in India about it... But that’s been going on, that battle, for a long time," he said.

“If I can, if they wanted me to, I would certainly intervene,” Trump added.

Pakistan welcomed and rejoiced the new statement by Trump saying it vindicated Islamabad’s stance.

Kashmir is essentially an international issue and UN General Assembly and its Security Council have passed a number of resolutions on the dispute, which has cost tens of thousands of lives.

Pakistan has also often sought third-party mediation in the decades-old dispute, but the idea is anathema to India, which insists the issue can only be resolved bilaterally.

Trump had set off a political storm in India by claiming during a meeting in Washington with PM Imran on July 22 that Modi had asked him two weeks ago to mediate on the Kashmir issue.

"I will say that we have a very good relationship with India. I know that your relationship was strained a little bit … maybe a lot," Trump had  said. "But we will be talking about India, it will be a big part of the conversation today."

"If I can help, I would love to be a mediator. If I can do anything to help, let me know," the US president had added.

PM Imran welcomed the offer and said that a push from a world power like the US could prove instrumental in convincing India to come to the negotiating table for resolution of the issue.

"Bilaterally, there will never be (an end to the Kashmir conflict)," Khan told Fox News, adding that Pakistan and India were "poles apart". "I really feel that India should come... (to) the table. The US could play a big part, President Trump certainly can play a big part."

But New Delhi immediately denied Trump's claim that Modi had asked him for mediation, and insisted that Kashmir was a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan.

India's rejection of  renewed offer

India on Friday rejected the fresh offer by President Trump saying that any discussion on the matter will only be held with Pakistan.

“Have conveyed to American counterpart @SecPompeo this morning in clear terms that any discussion on Kashmir, if at all warranted, will only be with Pakistan and only bilaterally,” Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar tweeted on Friday. 

 Jaishankar, who was in the Thailand capital to attend a number of conferences and ministerial meetings, met US Secretary of State Pompeo on the sidelines of 9th East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers meet in Bangkok.

This was the first official meeting between the two top officials after President Trump made the mediation offer last month.

 Qureshi's take Speaking to journalists in Islamabad on Friday, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said New Delhi claims that talks over the Kashmir issue will only be held with Pakistan, but was not even willing to conduct a bilateral meeting.

The foreign minister maintained that the US should use its influence over India to solve this dispute.

“Prime Minister Imran Khan had stated that Pakistan will take two steps forward if India takes one to improve relations, but the issue is rapidly getting worse. India should come towards dialogues to settle the Kashmir conflict, and I am forwarding a letter to the UN Secretary General today over this issue,” he said.

He added: “Pakistan had given the message of peace before, and is still making the same offer. We want to live peacefully. On the other hand, India raised questions on US President Donald Trump’s statement regarding the mediation offer on Kashmir dispute. Our focus at the moment is on Afghanistan peace process, and the stability of the entire region will be at stake if India creates hindrance in it.”