At the start of the US election campaign, a senior analyst had said that President Trump and candidate Trump would be two entirely different people. His rhetoric was what was much spoken about and this may have won him the elections ultimately.
The morning newspapers screamed about a call that Donald Trump made to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. "You are a terrific guy," Trump said according to a statement released by the Pakistan Prime Minister's Office. He also goes on to say that Pakistani people are intelligent and he is ready to play any role to find solutions to outstanding problems.
Trump's words appear to be a complete reversal from what he had said about Pakistan during the campaign. These could be paraphrases, but they do sound very Trump like. Some in the US media have even reached out to Trump's team to confirm whether these were actual quotes or inspired paraphrasing.
A change of heart?
Before getting into the Trump phone call let us recollect a couple of statements Trump had made about Pakistan:
"Get it straight, Pakistan is not our friend. We have given them billions and billions of dollars and what did we get? Betrayal and disrespect- and much worse."
"When will Pakistan apologise to us for providing safe sanctuary to Osama Bin Laden for six years?! Some ally, Trump had said on Twitter.
“Get it straight: Pakistan is not our friend. We’ve given them billions and billions of dollars, and what (cont) http://t.co/O5S4cQV3— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 17, 2012
In an interview with a magazine he had gone on to say," Pakistan was probably the most dangerous country in the world and only India could check Pakistan. Pakistan is a serious problem because it has nuclear weapons and a lot of them, just like North Korea, he had said. "
Trump clearly went against State Department protocol to speak with foreign leaders on a personal line and without preparation. The fact of the matter is that Trump has already attracted a lot of attention in India and Pakistan. Indian officials say that they would not read too much into it. They however add that if the quotes released by the Pakistan PMO are indeed correct, then it is a clear shift from what Trump has been saying about Pakistan.
The other question is what did Trump mean when he said outstanding issues. Pakistan has not spelt out what it means. However if Trump means Kashmir, then India would not be too pleased. However Indian officials say that Barrack Obama too had assured to mediate in the Kashmir issue, but did not do so once he came to power. It would be similar in the case of Trump too, Indian officials say.
The official further goes on to add that they would not read too much into this. Let us see what his stand is once he takes over as President. It looks like salesman banter at the moment, the official also adds.
Pro Pakistan anti China:
In the past few years Pakistan has inched closer towards China. The distance with America was clearly visible with Pakistan calling China an all weather ally. The old CIA driven America would clearly prefer having an ally in Pakistan to ensure that it has space in this part of the world so that it could oversee both India, China, Afghanistan and Iran.
When will Pakistan apologize to us for providing safe sanctuary to Osama Bin Laden for 6 years?! Some "ally."— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 5, 2012
If one were to analyse the speeches made by Trump during his campaign, it is clear that he had no love for China. Analysts feel that this call to Pakistan may be a way of getting Pakistan on the side of the Americans and distancing China. It could also be a ploy to check the growth of China in the region, analysts would point out.
Indian officials say the picture would be clearer only once he takes over. There could be a strategy in mind. While Indian officials say that one should not read much into Trump's phone call, they also point out that they would be analysing the situation carefully. The officer also adds that they would however wait for an official word from the Trump team on what exactly the conversation was. For now we have to rely on the transcript released by the Pakistan Prime Minister's Office.
Read the entire transcript here as released by Pakistan PMO:
Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif called President-elect USA Donald Trump and felicitated him on his victory. President Trump said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif you have a very good reputation.
You are a terrific guy. You are doing amazing work which is visible in every way. I am looking forward to see you soon. As I am talking to you Prime Minister, I feel I am talking to a person I have known for long. Your country is amazing with tremendous opportunities.
Pakistanis are one of the most intelligent people. I am ready and willing to play any role that you want me to play to address and find solutions to the outstanding problems. It will be an honor and I will personally do it. Feel free to call me any time even before 20th January that is before I assume my office.
On being invited to visit Pakistan by the Prime Minister, Mr. Trump said that he would love to come to a fantastic country, fantastic place of fantastic people. Please convey to the Pakistani people that they are amazing and all Pakistanis I have known are exceptional people, said Mr. Donald Trump.