Trump will support India-Pakistan friendship: Republican Hindu Coalition chief

Updated - December 16, 2016 03:22 pm IST

Published - December 16, 2016 12:29 pm IST - New York

Donald Trump will support “greater friendship” between India and Pakistan, a prominent Indian-American industrialist said on Thursday as he met the President-elect and discussed issues ranging from growing India-US trade to relations with China and Pakistan.

Shalabh Kumar, founder and president of the Republican Hindu Coalition (RHC), met Trump, Vice President-elect Mike Pence, Trump’s daughter Ivanka and sons Don and Eric and other senior officials from the incoming Trump administration at the Trump Towers here on Wednesday.

“It was a great meeting,” Kumar told after the nearly 25 minute meeting with Trump at his luxurious headquarters in Manhattan.

Kumar, who played a leading role in mobilising ‘Hindus for U.S.’ and was appointed to the Transition Finance and Inauguration committee, said the Trump administration is “looking forward to having a great relationship with India.”

Kumar said during the meeting, they discussed about mechanisms for increasing trade between the U.S. and India.

“We also talked about policies with respect to China and with respect to Pakistan and how India views them,” Kumar said.

Kumar added that Trump is “very well aware” that terrorism is a big concern for India and “he is also confident in a way that he could persuade Pakistan to do the right things and actually create a friendship between India and Pakistan.

“His attitude is always that you can do it, you put your mind to it and do it in a business-like manner. So you can do that.”

Trump will be ‘very straight’ with Pakistan: Kumar

Kumar further added that Trump will be “very straight” with Pakistan and if Pakistani leader Nawaz Sharif focusses on development and education in his country, then even the RHC and the Trump administration is with Pakistan and will support it.

Kumar said in the meeting they discussed that Pakistan needs to control terrorism and “the fact that if there was an opportunity to have greater friendship between India and Pakistan, he (Trump) will be for it.

“If anything he (Trump) can do to foster friendship, he is a businessman and wherever through business he could help create peace and prosperity, he is all for that,” Kumar said.

The Indian-American industrialist said both sides also discussed plans for creating a million to two million new jobs in the U.S. by increasing the trade between US and India.

He noted that there is potential to increase bilateral trade from the 130 billion dollars a year currently to 300 billion dollars a year.

Kumar said the issue of demonetisation also came up during the meeting that was also attended by Steven Mnuchin, Trump’s pick for treasury secretary.

“We also had Treasury Secretary-elect present throughout and he offered his views that they love the fact that (demonetisation) could take out corruption from India and India’s economy could grow much higher at more than 10 per cent and double digit rates,” Kumar said.

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