- Imran Khan spoke at length about the kind of foreign relation he envisions Pakistan having with the US after the process of withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan concludes
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in an interview to the New York Times said he knows India better than all other Pakistanis and has enjoyed “love and respect” from the country because of the two nations' shared love for cricket. “You know, probably out of all the Pakistanis, I know India better than all of them. I have had love and respect from India [more] than any one because cricket is a big sport. It’s almost religion in both the countries,” the legendary former cricketer said.
He expressed disappointment on being unable to normalise trade ties with India despite reaching out after assuming office, adding that a “civilised trading relationship” would be beneficial for both countries.
“So when I assumed office, the first thing I did was I made this approach to Prime Minister Modi and said that, 'Look, my main objective for coming to power is to alleviate poverty in Pakistan.' And the best way would be if India and Pakistan had a normal, civilised trading relationship. It would benefit both the countries,” Khan said.
“I think that it is a peculiar ideology of the RSS, which Narendra Modi belongs to, which just came up against a brick wall. And, therefore, the answer to your question is yes. Had there been another Indian leadership, I think we would have had a good relationship with them. And yes, we would have resolved all our differences through dialogue,” he added.
Khan also spoke at length about the kind of foreign relation he envisions Pakistan having with the US after the process of withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan concludes, stating it is similar to the kind of relation the US shares with UK and India US. Which would be more “even handed” than the one both countries shared during the “war on terror”. During which the “US felt that they were giving aid to Pakistan, they felt that Pakistan then had to do US’s bidding,”
"Now, after the US leaves Afghanistan, basically Pakistan would want a civilised relationship, which you have between nations, and we would like to improve our trading relationship with the US,” he said.
Khan expressed uncertainty about the kind of military relationship that the two countries would share post US withdrawal from Afghanistan."Post the US withdrawal, I don’t know what sort of military relationship it will be. But right now, the relationship should be based on this common objective that there is a political solution in Afghanistan before the United States leaves," he said.
On being asked if Pakistan will recognise a Taliban led government in Afghanistan Khan stated, “Pakistan will only recognize a government which is chosen by the people of Afghanistan, whichever government they choose."
While pledging his full support to the President Ashraf Ghani-led government in Afghanistan, he asserted that Pakistan will not be taking “military action” against Taliban, and in case they try to take over Afghanistan then Pakistan “will seal the border, because now we can, because we have fenced our border (Durand line), which was previously [open], because Pakistan does not want to get into, number one, conflict. Secondly, we do not want another influx of refugees."
Khan said that the signing of the deal in Doha on February 29, 2020 between US and Afghanistan which would allow US troops to return home diminished Pakistan’s leverage over the Taliban because “the moment the United States gave a date of exit, Taliban basically claimed victory. They’re thinking that they won the war. And so therefore, our ability to influence them diminishes the stronger they feel."
Khan also commented on Kashmir during his interview stating "I think it’s a disaster for India because it will just mean that this conflict festers on and on … and (prevents) any relationship — normal relationship — between Pakistan and India."
Know India better than all other Pakistanis: Imran Khan shares his vision for future foreign relations
Imran Khan spoke at length about the kind of foreign relation he envisions Pakistan having with the US after the process of withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan concludes