NEW YORK: US president-elect Donald Trump could use his “extraordinary deal-making skills” to reduce tensions around the world and solve problems such as the “intractable” Kashmir issue, vice president-elect Mike Pence said on Sunday.

In remarks on US TV news show ‘Meet The Press’, which are likely to raise hackles in New Delhi, Mr Pence also said the new US administration intended to be “fully engaged” in South Asia and with Pakistan and India on issues such as Kashmir to promote peace and security.

“But I think you’re also going to see an energetic leadership in the world, prepared to engage and to look for ways that he can bring those extraordinary deal-making skills to bear on lessening tensions and solving problems in the world.”

Referring to recent tensions between Pakistan and India, Mr Pence said Mr Trump wanted to make sure that both countries “know that when this administration takes office, that we intend to be fully engaged in the region and fully engaged with both nations to advance peace and security”.

Mr Pence observed there had “been great tension between India and Pakistan in recent days. It’s resulted in violence along the Kashmir region”. During his conversations with leaders of Pakistan and India, Mr Trump expressed “a desire for continued US engagement on building the relationship with both of those countries”.

Asked if Mr Trump’s transition team was using the expertise of the State Department’s Foreign Service professionals and following protocol and international norms for phone calls with key world leaders, Mr Pence said he and Mr Trump were receiving “presidential daily briefs” and formal briefings on national security.

Published in Dawn December 6th, 2016

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