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News Donald Trump May Give Pakistan Jitters For His Rivalry Towards India As...

Donald Trump May Give Pakistan Jitters For His Rivalry Towards India As He Won US Presidential Elections 2016

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Donald Trump’s surprise election as US president has Pakistanis wary that he may accelerate what they see as a shift in American policy to favour arch-foe India in the long rivalry between nuclear-armed neighbours, analysts said on Wednesday.

US Pakistan relations after Donald trumps win US presidential elections 2016

Historical allies in the region, Islamabad and Washington have seen relations sour over US accusations that Pakistan shelters Islamist militants, a charge Pakistan denies.

At the same time, Pakistan’s ties with India have also deteriorated this year, when Pakistan-based militants killed 19 of soldiers in a September attack on an army base in northern Kashmir’s Uri.

To many Pakistanis, Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric — he once proposed banning Muslims entering the United States — and business ties to India are signs that his administration could shift further toward New Delhi.

America will not abandon Pakistan, but definitely, Trump will be a tougher president than Hillary Clinton for Pakistan, said Hasan Askari Rizvi, Lahore-based foreign policy analyst.

“I think India will have a better and smoother interaction compared to Pakistan.”

Trump has yet to lay out a detailed policy for South Asia, although he recently offered to mediate between India and Pakistan in their dispute over the divided territory of Kashmir.

He also told Fox News in May he would favour keeping nearly 10,000 US troops in Afghanistan “because it’s adjacent and right next to Pakistan which has nuclear weapons.”

On Wednesday, a US diplomat in Pakistan sought to assure the country that Trump’s election did not signal a drastic policy change.

“Our foreign policy is based on national interest and they don’t change when the government changes,” Grace Shelton, US consul general in Karachi, told Geo News television.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif congratulated Trump.

US Pakistan relations after Donald Trump wins US presidential Elections 2016

“Your election is indeed the triumph of the American people and their enduring faith in the ideals of democracy, freedom, human rights and free enterprise,” Sharif said in a statement.

Still, the uncertainty of a Trump presidency has many Pakistanis on edge, even if the country has leaned towards China in recent years for investment and diplomatic support.

“Trump is a bit of a wild card,” said Sherry Rehman, a Pakistani senator and former ambassador to the United States.

Pakistan obviously cannot rule out engaging with whomever America elects, but his anti-Muslim rhetoric may cast a shadow on relations in times of uncertainty.

India hopeful

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also congratulated Trump on Wednesday.

“We look forward to working with you closely to take India-US bilateral ties to a new height,” Modi said in a tweet.

Trump has partnered with Indian businessmen on a handful of real estate ventures, but apart from courting the Indian-American vote he has not articulated how he would develop the bilateral relationship.

narendra-modi India US relations after Donald Trump wins US presidential elections 2016

India-US ties have flourished under President Barack Obama and Modi, who came to power in 2014, with the two countries striking key defence agreements this year.

Modi’s government has also waged a campaign to isolate Pakistan diplomatically.

Shaurya Doval, director of the India Foundation, a think-tank close to Modi’s government, called Trump’s election “a very positive development”, but added that India and the United States would have continued to grow closer under a Hillary Clinton presidency as well.

“My sense is that India-US relations are not dependent on individuals – there are strong institutions and processes there,” he said.

President Pranab Mukherjee also took to Twitter to congratulate Trump.

According to Lalit Mansingh, former foreign secretary and ex-Indian ambassador to the US, India-US relations could see a small period of “interruption as Trump assembles his team.”

“If you look at the references made to India from the Republican platform by Trump, they are interesting in terms of calling for close geo-political relations and calling for better relations with India. There have been strong comments on terrorism,” Mansingh said. “I would say that Trump is likely to follow the policies set by his predecessors.”

As if to reassure the sceptics in India, US ambassador Richard Verma said in a statement that “ties that bind our two countries together are built on our shared democratic values, and go beyond the friendship of the American President and the Indian Prime Minister.”

“They go beyond the economic and people-to-people ties. The US-India relationship is vitally important, it is bipartisan, and it is only growing stronger. Here’s to another four years of robust U.S.-India Dosti,” Verma said.

According to Mansingh, there was a lot of similarity between Trump and Modi; both leaders are pro-business and there exists a seeming ideological convergence between them.

“I think ties will resume their momentum and the two sides will resume their dialogues soon. The US will remain an important strategic and investment partner of India,” he said.

Manoj Joshi, an analyst with the New Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation think tank, says that India does not impact the US the way China, Russia and Europe do.

Afghanistan war

Trump will also have to decide whether to maintain the number of US troops in Afghanistan or change the scope of the mission, 15 years after a US-led campaign toppled the hardline Islamist Taliban government.


The United States has spent some $115 billion in aid for Afghanistan since 2002, but the country is still caught in conflict, with a third of the country out of government control and thousands of Afghan civilians, soldiers and police dying every year.

Afghan officials have voiced concern that the conflict is being forgotten in Washington, and warned privately that the West will pay a huge price if that continues.

“The people of Afghanistan are tired of war. We want (Trump) to invest heavily in bringing peace to war-torn Afghanistan and stabilize our region,” said Umer Daudzai, former Afghan minister of interior.

The Taliban on Wednesday urged Trump to withdraw all US troops.

“They should not cause damage to their economy and their military in this failed war,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said of the American government in a statement.

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