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At huge India rally, Trump calls relations with Pakistan ‘very good’

AHMEDABAD (Monitoring Desk): Addressing massive crowds during his first visit to India, United States President Donald Trump on Monday called his country’s relationship with Pakistan “very good” and said US efforts had led to “big progress with Pakistan” in the fight against terrorism.

Trump landed in Ahmedabad, the largest city in Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat, to a roadshow and a huge reception in a 110,000-seat cricket stadium said to be the world’s largest.

“Our relationship with Pakistan is a very good one,” Trump said to a crowd of more than 100,000 Indians at the opening of the Motera stadium in the western city of Ahmedabad. “US and India are committed to stopping terrorists and fight their ideology. For this reason, since taking office, my administration is working in a very positive way with Pakistan to crack down on terrorist organizations and militants which operate on the Pakistani border.”

“Thanks to these efforts, we are beginning to see signs of big progress with Pakistan and we are hopeful for reduced tensions, greater stability and the future of harmony for all of the nations of South Asia,” the US president said.

Relations between Islamabad and New Delhi, already hostile, have been further strained over India’s decision last year to revoke the special status of its portion of the Kashmir region that both countries claim. Pakistan reacted with fury, cutting transport and trade links and expelling India’s ambassador in retaliation.

Last month, Trump said the United States was watching developments between India and Pakistan over Kashmir “very closely” and was prepared to help if necessary, but did not say how.

The US president has previously offered to mediate between India and Pakistan on Kashmir during a visit to Washington by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Kashmir, a mountainous region, has been the starting point for two of the three wars India and Pakistan have fought since they gained independence from British colonial rule in 1947.

In February last year, following a militant attack on a police convoy in Indian-controlled Kashmir that India blamed on Pakistan, the two countries came close to war with jets fighting a dogfight in the skies over Kashmir before tensions eased. Pakistan denies any state complicity in the attack.

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