The US President Donald Trump has once again expressed his desire to “mediate” between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir issue and has indicated that he will discuss this possibility over the weekend with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the two leaders are slated to meet at the G7 summit in Biarritz, France. On the face of it the offer is welcome; it underscores the fact that Kashmir is certainly not an Indian internal matter but a bilateral one between India and Pakistan, with world powers and multi-lateral organizations interceding on behalf of the Kashmiri people. Beyond refuting India’s “internal matter” narrative, what can Donald Trump achieve in solving this decades old issue?

The answer unfortunately is: very little. The US President’s proclivity for off-the-cuff remarks and erratic change in stances and policies means Kashmiris and Pakistanis should be wary of putting any trust in Trumps ability to deliver on his promises. Add to this a his practice of self-aggrandisation and hyperbole and one would not be amiss in surmising that his statements are more geared towards his domestic audience - where he can appear proactive - rather than actual foreign policy positions.

This can be further confirmed by the statements of the US State Department, which has been performing an amusing cleanup act in the wake of Trumps remarks. Whenever the President claims too much or strays from the strict interpretation of facts, the State Department is always there to walk back his claims towards positions more acceptable to the US’ real foreign policy objectives.

Case in point, immediately after Trump revealed that he had talked to both Prime Ministers and would continue the dialogue in person with Modi, the State Department was quick to disabuse the notion that he is meditating the dispute, saying; “the president is not mediating but has offered to do so if asked by both parties.” The implication being India has to ask for mediation for the US to intervene – something India would never do.

As such while it is reasonable to publically appreciate and magnify the US’ efforts to “bring peace” it must be remembered that under the Trump administration these efforts are superficial at best. The US’ vested interests in the region are not exigent enough for it to wade into the Kashmir issue. The most it will do is ensure open hostilities do not break out.

Hence Pakistani diplomacy must approach stakeholders which will actively engage the core issue of Kashmir.