The US president needs Pakistani help with brokering a deal in Afghanistan and allowing hundreds of US troops to go home. This isn’t the first time America has reached out, either
The Independent Voices
The first one-on-one meeting of Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan and US president Donald Trump in the White House on Monday marked a new beginning in the complicated relationship between the two countries. It’s no secret that the US and Pakistan haven’t seen eye-to-eye over the last few years. Since the Cold War, diplomacy has been strained; events like 9/11 almost stretched them beyond breaking point.
The Trump-Khan meeting this week, however, ushered in the possibility of repairing US-Pakistan relations for good. The meeting seemed to go amicably; Pakistani outlets responded positively. One moment triggered particular debate internationally: the moment when Donald Trump said of the Kashmir dispute, “If I can help, I’d love to be a mediator.”
Of course there is much to be said about Trump’s desire to do deals across the globe. But by offering the US mediation in this 70-year conflict, the president also hinted at a shift in the US’s long-standing policy on Kashmir. Before this, it was accepted without question that the dispute could and should only be solved between India and Pakistan, without mediation.
Indian prime minister Modi, who Trump said had asked for his help, immediately rebuffed the US president’s claims. That’s not surprising, considering that India has rejected third party mediation for decades. The Indian government likes to call Kashmir a bilateral issue, but it has never engaged in properly meaningful dialogue with Pakistan about it. It’s clear that it’s time for a change.