SRINAGAR: US Vice President-elect Mike Pence recently opined that President-elect Donald Trump, with his unparalleled negotiating skills, is likely to play a pivotal role in the Kashmir issue.
Speaking to an American news channel, Pence noted that the rising tensions between India and Pakistan in recent times have exacerbated the Kashmir conflict, causing the thread between the two countries to become tensed enough to break.
In his talks with the Indian and Pakistani prime ministers, the President-elect explained that the US intends to bolster its linkages with the two countries, given their nuclear power status, which Trump acknowledges. In response to a question, Pence mentioned that Trump wishes to promote peace in the South Asian region once the new administration takes up office, and to remain “fully engaged.”
With regard to playing the mediator in the Kashmir problem, the VP-elect stated that not only does Trump aim to focus on domestic affairs, but also desires to use his unmatched deal-brokering skills to resolve long-existing international matters.
He added that Donald Trump has America’s best interests at heart, including economic growth and job creation, and brings vital energy to speed-up settling, or at least, reducing conflicts around the world.
While Trump's call to the Taiwanese leader caused quite some controversy, especially adverse reactions from China, it is noteworthy that Trump – in his effort to establish amicable links with representative of more than 50 nations globally during the transition – has already had a phone-call conversation with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
The talk has been deemed to be surprisingly open and informal.
Transcript Of The Conversation
Chuck Todd: So let me jump to Pakistan. The Pakistan prime minister on Thursday, here is the headline in the front page of the international news in Karachi, “Trump says ready to play role in resolution of issues.” So let me ask you, is he offering to mediate border disputes? The pri– I guess Pakistan wanted to imply that, that he was offering to mediate border disputes between Pakistan and India. Is that what he was trying to say?
Mike Pence: Well, clearly there’s been great tension between India and Pakistan in recent days. It’s resulted in violence along the Kashmir region. And I think what the president-elect expressed in conversations with leaders on both countries was a desire for continued US engagement on building the relationship with both of those countries. These are two nuclear powers–
Pence: –the president-elect recognises that. And making sure that, that they know that when this administration takes office, that we intend to be fully engaged in the region and fully engaged with both nations to advance peace and security.
Todd: To be a mediator in deciding Kashmir?
Pence: Well, I think, I think, I think in president-elect Donald Trump you’ve got someone who, who is prepared to advance America’s interests here at home, to rebuild this economy, to fight for American jobs. But I think you’re also going to see an energetic leadership in the world, prepared to engage and to look for ways that he can bring those extraordinary deal-making skills to bear on lessening tensions and solving problems in the world.
‘India, Pak Shouldn't Use HoA To Score Brownie Points’
Russia's special envoy on Afghanistan, on Sunday, said all parties involved in the war-torn country's reconstruction must work together and that the Heart of Asia was not the platform for India and Pakistan to score brownie points.
Downplaying Russia's military exercise with Pakistan two months ago, Zamir Kabulov, who overseas Russia's engagement in Afghanistan, referred to India's increasing cooperation with the US.
Representational image. Image courtesy: News18Representational image. Image courtesy: News18
The HoA should not be used by India and Pakistan for scoring points, he told reporters. He said bilateral issues should not cloud forums like the Heart of Asia, replying to a question on Pakistan supporting terror groups operating from its soil.
Kabulov represented Russia in the Heart of Asia conference where he articulated Moscow's position on Afghanistan's transition. He said all major players, including India, must extend all possible support to Afghanistan in its transition.
India has close cooperation with the US, does Moscow complain? Then why complain about much lower level of cooperation with Pakistan, he asked when referred to Russia-Pakistan military exercise.
India has a strategic partnership with Afghanistan and is implementing projects worth $2 billion to help rebuild the country's infrastructure.
India has been supporting an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned, broad-based and inclusive process of peace and reconciliation, and advocating the need for a sustained and long-term commitment to Afghanistan by the international community.
The Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process was launched in 2011 and the participating countries include Pakistan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and the United Arab Emirates.
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