Trump’s phone call to Nawaz Sharif will upset delicate balance of India-Pakistan ties


US President-elect Donald Trump’s call to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif could “upset the delicate balance” of India-Pakistan ties, the New York Times said as it sounded a critical tone of him breaking decades of diplomatic practice in freewheeling calls with foreign leaders.

“President-elect Donald J Trump has broken with decades of diplomatic practice in freewheeling calls with foreign leaders,” the New York Times said as the next leader of the US upset the status quo in his conversations with world leaders.

In an unprecedented break from diplomatic practice and a move that could irk China, Trump spoke with Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen, becoming the first president or president-elect to speak with a Taiwanese leader since at least 1979, when Washington had severed diplomatic ties with Taiwan as part of its recognition of China.

On November 30, Trump spoke with Sharif, who according to a Pakistani government readout of their call, invited Trump to visit the south Asian country. The readout said Trump had called Pakistan a “fantastic” country full of “fantastic” people that he “would love” to visit as president.

He had also called Sharif as “terrific” and Pakistanis “are one of the most intelligent people”, according to the Pakistani readout which added that Trump said he is “ready and willing to play any role that you want me to play to address and find solutions to the outstanding problems”.

“Should Trump follow through, he risks alienating India, which sees Pakistan as a major antagonist, and appearing to reward Pakistan’s behaviour; should he renege, he risks upsetting Pakistani leaders who are sensitive about perceived American intransigence.

Either way, the call could upset the delicate balance of India-Pakistan ties, which the US has struggled to manage amid a history of wars and recent skirmishes,” the New York Times said.

On Trump’s conversation with Ing-wen, NYT said the call “risks infuriating China”, which considers Taiwan a breakaway province governed by Chinese rebels.

“By honouring the Taiwanese president with a formal call, Trump’s transition team implicitly suggests that it considers Taiwan an independent state,” it said, noting that the US has declined to recognise Taiwan since 1979, when it shifted recognition to the government in Beijing. Taiwan itself has yet to declare formal independence.

Trump had tweeted, “The President of Taiwan CALLED ME today to wish me congratulations on winning the Presidency”.

In a 2 December conversation with Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines, Trump invited him to visit Washington.

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