In the latest twist for Pakistan, on its potential relationship with the new incoming administration, it appears that President-elect Trump is taking advice from a fellow businessman, in this case, an Indian businessman, as to what policies the US should have towards Pakistan. This occurs, as Tariq Fatemi is still sitting in the US for the past week, rumors have it, trying to get an invitation from Donald Trump to the inauguration for PM Nawaz Sharif.
Shalabh Kumar, Indian founder and president of the Republican Hindu Coalition (RHC), on Wednesday 14 December, met President-elect Trump, vice President-elect Mike Pence, and members of Trump’s family including his daughter Ivanka, and other senior officials in his team. The meeting was widely covered by the Press Trust of India and other Indian newspapers. It was during this 25-30 minute meeting with Trump, that Shalabh Kumar is said to have discussed India’s concerns about Pakistan.
“It was a great meeting,” Kumar said after the meeting with Trump at the Trump Towers. He reported that Donald Trump will support “greater friendship” between India and Pakistan.
“We also talked about policies with respect to China and with respect to Pakistan and how India views them,” Kumar said. He added Trump is “very well aware” that terrorism is a concern for India.
“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.”
According to Kumar, Trump will be ‘very straight’ with Pakistan and if the “Pakistani leader Nawaz Sharif focuses on development and education in his country, then even the RHC and the Trump administration is with Pakistan and will support it.” They discussed the Pakistani government’s detailed press release of Trump’s call as being against protocol.
read more: Trump’s call to “Terrific Nawaz”: Headache for Indian Lobbyists?
He went on to further clarify that in their meeting they discussed that Pakistan should 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 Trump team has already picked two Indian- American women for important positions, Nikki Haley as US envoy to the United Nations and Dr Seema Verma as Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Kumar along with Steven Mnuchin, current Trump nominee for the Treasury Secretary, played a key role in organizing a rally for Trump in New Jersey on October 15 as well as the “Aab Ki baar Trump Sarkar” ad campaign. It is reported that he has contributed close to $1m to Trump’s electoral campaign.
Ab Ki Baar Trump Sarkar: The ad that shook the Hindu World & India and created History! #TrumpTransition https://t.co/GF6UPsbck0
— Shalabh Kumar (@iamshalabhkumar) December 14, 2016
Kumar, who played an important part in mobilizing ‘Hindus for U.S.’ through the Republican Hindu Coalition, to vote for Donald Trump was appointed to the Transition Finance and Inauguration committee, no doubt as a reward for his efforts.
Discussed with @realDonaldTrump #AbKiBartrumpsarkar poll stats: Big change in HinduAmerican votes 16% R in ’12 to 65% R in ’16 #kumarsxTrump
— Shalabh Kumar (@iamshalabhkumar) December 16, 2016
From his comments as reported in Indian newspapers, it appears that they spent a large part of their time in the meeting talking about Pakistan. They also discussed plans for creating up to two million new jobs in the U.S. by increasing the bilateral trade between US and India from the current $130 billion to $300 billion a year. Shalabh Kumar promised many Hindu’s during the campaign that Trump would make it easier for them to get green cards. His supporters are hoping that this issue was also raised during this meeting.