Would love to see Pakistan and India get along: Donald Trump
Describing ongoing India-Pakistan tensions as a “very, very hot tinderbox”, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has said he would “love to be the mediator or arbitrator” if it was necessary and if the two countries wanted him to.
In an exclusive, interview to Hindustan Times before his address to Indian-Americans on Saturday, Trump, who was accompanied by Shalabh “Shalli” Kumar, the Chicago businessman whose Republican Hindu Coalition hosted the event, said he favors the H-1B visa program, but it has some “big deficiencies” that needed to be fixed.
Asked what he would do about Pakistan or the neighbourhood , which he has said has been the source of terrorist attacks in the US such as San Bernardino, Trump said, “We will have to be very, very strong with respect to radical Islamic terrorism. It’s a tremendous problem. We have a president that doesn’t want to use the term. We have to be very powerful, very strong on radical Islamic terror.”
When pressed for plans for Pakistan, if any, he said, “Well, I would love to see Pakistan and India get along, because that’s a very, very hot tinderbox.”
“Look at the recent problem that you had and other problems that you have had over the years,” he added, referring clearly, but without naming it, to the terror attack on the Indian army camp in Uri and the flare-up in tensions.
“I would love to see Pakistan and India get along. That would be a very great thing. I hope they can do it.”
Asked if he would like to play a role, Trump said, “If it was necessary I would do that. If we could get India and Pakistan getting along, I would be honored to do that. That would be a tremendous achievement.”
When pressed on how this will happen? Would both parties have to ask him to do that, Trump said, “I would say so, yes. But I think if they wanted me to, I would love to be the mediator or arbitrator.”
India opposes third-party mediation on Kashmir, and was worried when president Barack Obama suggested in 2008 the US “should probably try to facilitate a better understanding between Pakistan and India and try to resolve the Kashmir crisis”. That was the last time he spoke about a role for the US.
On H-1B visa, Trump said he understands the US needs skilled workers, and he has used this program himself, but “at the same time we have to take care of American jobs and I have always said America first at all levels … but we do need skill coming (to the US)… when we need the skill we can do that .. but I really do want to take care of American jobs and America first.”
On asked would he expand or curtail it if being elected, Trump said there is an annual cap of 85,000 on H-1B visas, and there those that favor lifting the cap and those who have called for cuts.
“We will look at it very carefully and we are going to be studying it over the next coming months. The program has some very big deficiencies but also has some assets,” he added.
Asked about his view on India and China, and if sees them as rivals, the Republican nominee said, “It’s a rivalry, both in size and the economy and you look at what is happening. These are massive countries.”
He took the opportunity to reprise his love for India. “I have great love for India, because I have so many friends from India … the Hindu people, I will say, are amazing.”
On asked if he would he take sides as president, he said, “Well, I am going to be a president that is impartial but I love India. I have always respected India. I have got jobs in India, and you know I have buildings in India that are very, very successful … I have great respect for India, and the people of India.”