ISLAMABAD   -   Pakistan does not have any reservations against holding talks with India with US President Donald Trump playing a mediator’s role.

Close aides of Prime Minister Imran Khan told The Nation that Pakistan was not against talks – at the bilateral level or with any mediator.

“If the US President plays a role (while Imran Khan is in the US this month), we will not say no. We do have reservations on whatever is going on in Kashmir but we have never thought of war. We always advocate dialogue,” one aide said.

Another key government official said that if Trump sits between Imran Khan and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, “we will not set any conditions.”

He added: “In that case (if Trump mediates) we will go straight into talks. It’s for India to decide what they want. When the PM (Imran Khan) says we don’t want talks with India in the current circumstances, he doesn’t mean, we will not accept any mediation. Trump-level mediation is always welcome. We are not alone in demanding peace in Kashmir. The whole world supports our point of view.”

President Trump is playing an active role to defuse the Pak-India tension but India is defiant to play under its own terms. “The only thing Pakistan wants is normalcy in Kashmir. We are ready for talks anywhere, anytime,” he maintained.

Earlier, a US think-tank warned that the spectre of nuclear war haunts tensions between Pakistan and India and the disputed territory of Kashmir could provide the spark that lights South Asia’s nuclear fuse.

The report by Stratfor, a geopolitical intelligence platform based in Austin, Texas, also disputes the classification of Kashmir issue as India’s internal affair or a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan.

The possibility of the conflict going nuclear has increased after Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh’s statement of abandoning India’s “no first use” doctrine, says the report. It said the people of Kashmir were promised a plebiscite that never took place.

It pointed out that last February, Pakistan downed an Indian fighter jet but returned its pilot. However, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not acknowledge Islamabad’s conciliatory gesture nor his government has been willing to discuss the Kashmir issue, whose people were promised a plebiscite on their future.

President Trump has been in contact with both Prime Minister Imran Khan and Prime Minister Modi urging the need to reduce tensions over Kashmir and avoid steps that might escalate the crisis.

Prime Minister Khan has been regularly taking to Twitter to attack Modi, calling him a fascist and racist. He has also alleged that Modi was turning India into a Hindu supremacist country, and that Muslims in the country were being disenfranchised and “RSS goons were on the rampage.”

On August 5, India scrapped Article 370 - a constitutional provision that allowed Jammu and Kashmir semi-autonomy over laws and prevented land ownership by non-Kashmiris.

The decision was instant and aided by a complete shutdown of the region, including a communications blackout and military security. The clampdown lasted almost two weeks.

Kashmir has been a source of constant strife between Pakistan and India, and this move by the Indian government fanned the tension. PM Imran Khan had successfully called for a UN Security Council meeting to discuss Kashmir but the meeting concluded with no official statements.

Within India too, there has been dissent about the move. Modi tried to address the subject in his Independence Day speech. With the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A in Jammu and Kashmir, the dream of ‘One Nation, One Constitution’ has been realised, said Modi. He also lashed out at the opposition for speaking against the move, asking if they felt it was so necessary why did not they make it permanent in the past 70 years.

President Trump met Modi in Paris last month and discussed the issue of Kashmir. In July, Trump had met PM Khan. They two had agreed that the regional issue should be resolved through talks but India controversially merged Kashmir into its union soon afterwards, heightening the tension.

A war between Pakistan and India, Prime Minister Khan believes, amid rising tension on Kashmir could be destructive for the whole world.

PM Khan has warned both Pakistan and India were nuclear powers and if the situation led to war, “the whole world will be affected not us only.”

The Prime Minister categorically said that Pakistan will go to any extent in support of the people of occupied Kashmir. He said Pakistan will stay with the Kashmiris till last breath whether any country “stands with us or not.”