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Starting to develop much better relationship with Pakistan: Trump

U.S. President Donald Trump watches as he tours the Moran Vehicle Training facility where vehicles perform maneuvers with first lady Melania Trump at the United States Secret Service James J. Rowley Training Center in Beltsville, on Friday.

U.S. President Donald Trump watches as he tours the Moran Vehicle Training facility where vehicles perform maneuvers with first lady Melania Trump at the United States Secret Service James J. Rowley Training Center in Beltsville, on Friday.   | Photo Credit: AP

Specifically, US President alludes to Islamabad’s help in the release of American-Canadian couple from Taliban's clutches.

Less than two months after he warned Pakistan for its failure to rein in terrorist groups, U.S. President Donald Trump said his strategy has begun to work and Islamabad has started cooperating with the U.S. on the issue.

In three remarks over two days after Pakistan secured the release of an American-Canadian couple, Caitlan Coleman and Joshua Boyle, and their three children from their Taliban captors, Mr. Trump interpreted the development as a new turn in ties with Islamabad.

In the latest, a Twitter post on Friday evening, Mr. Trump said: “Starting to develop a much better relationship with Pakistan and its leaders. I want to thank them for their cooperation on many fronts.”

‘A real relationship’

Earlier on Friday, addressing a conservative gathering, he said, Pakistan is “starting to respect” America. “Yesterday, things happened with Pakistan, and I have openly said Pakistan took tremendous advantage of our country for many years, but we’re starting to have a real relationship with Pakistan and they’re starting to respect us as a nation again, and so are other nations... And I want to thank the leaders of Pakistan for what they've been doing.”

A day earlier, in a statement issued by the White House, Mr. Trump had said that “the Pakistani government‘s cooperation is a sign that it is honouring America’s wishes for it to do more to provide security in the region”.

Addressing the Values Voter Summit, an annual gathering of Christian conservatives — an enthusiastic core of his constituency — Mr. Trump went on to explain the purported change in Pakistan’s behaviour as a result of his tough foreign policy posture.

 "In this administration, we will call evil by its name…We stand with our friends and allies, we forge new partnerships in pursuit of peace, and we take decisive action against those who would threaten our people with harm… And we will be decisive -- because we know that the first duty of government is to serve its citizens.”

New strategy on South Asia

In an August speech that elucidated his new strategy for South Asia, Mr. Trump had hailed India as an American partner in attempts to resolve the logjam in Afghanistan and called out Pakistan for sheltering terrorists groups. “We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting,” he had said. 

While it was widely interpreted as a dramatic change in U.S approach towards Pakistan, subsequent interpretations and explanations of the policy by officials of State Department and cabinet secretaries clearly indicated that the Trump administration would continue engaging with Pakistan.

In a Congressional hearing last week Defence Secretary James Mattis said the administration would like to give Pakistan “one more chance” to prove its sincerity in combating terror.

 Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif, who met with U.S interlocutors last week in Washington, pleaded that his country would take “five steps for each step that America takes” to reduce the trust deficit in bilateral ties. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defence Secretary James Mattis are scheduled to travel to the region later this month. 

 

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 5:14:47 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/starting-to-develop-much-better-relationship-with-pakistan-trump/article19859664.ece

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