- Ambassador Haley says President Trump may also participate in process
The Trump administration will try and find its place to be a part of efforts to de-escalate tensions between Pakistan and India, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said, while also suggesting that President Donald Trump may also participate in the process.
“It’s absolutely right that this administration is concerned about the relationship between Pakistan and India and very much wants to see how we de-escalate any sort of conflict going forward,” she said while answering a question at a press conference after the US assumed the presidentship of the UN Security Council for the month of April.
Ambassador Haley, who is of Indian ancestry, was asked whether the US would make any effort to get Pakistan and India to engage in peace talks. “I would expect that the Trump administration is going to be in talks and try and find its place to be a part of that,” she told reporters.
“We don’t think we should wait till something happens. We very much think that we should be proactive in the way that we are seeing tensions rise and conflicts start to bubble up, and so we want to see if we can be a part of that,” the US envoy added.
“I think that will be something that you will see members of the US national security council participate in, but also wouldn’t be surprised if the president participates in that as well.” It was the first comment by a member of the Trump administration on the escalating tensions between the South Asian neighbours.
Some foreign policy experts said it will be premature to draw a conclusion based on comments by Ambassador Haley about possible intervention by the Trump administration to de-escalate tension. “Firstly, the comments were in response to a question. We do not know whether it is a policy decision by the US or an off-the-cuff remark. It is too premature to come to a conclusion based on the remarks,” said Meera Shankar, who was India’s Ambassador to the US from 2009 to 2011.
She said that the US policy has been to ensure de-escalation of tensions between Pakistan and India but America never saw a role for it in resolving issues between the two countries. “Still, we should make our position very clear to the US that we are not open to any ‘third party intervention’ in resolving issues with Pakistan,” she said.
India’s dormer high commissioner to Pakistan G Parthasarathy also downplayed Haley’s comments, saying she was just US’ representative to the UN and she never mentioned that the US will mediate between Pakistan and India. “Let’s not jump to a conclusion. The US has always favoured de-escalation of tensions between Pakistan and India,” he said.
He said that there were instances of US intervention, including during Kargil war, in bringing down tension between the two South Asian neighbours. India’s former envoy to US Naresh Chandra called the comments a ‘clever move’ by the US to send a signal to Pakistan that it was with Islamabad on the issue.
He said there is an ‘aggressive lobby’ in the US which wants intervention by Washington in resolving issues between Pakistan and India. “We should tell the Trump administration very clearly that there is no question of any intervention by either the US or the UN (in resolving issues between Pakistan and India,” he said.