WASHINGTON: Donald Trump takes oath on Friday as the 45th US president, bringing in an administration that sees India as a major trade and strategic partner, but which also wants to retain ties with Pakistan.
At their confirmation hearing this week, Mr Trump’s nominees for secretaries of defence and state both emphasised the need for staying engaged in the fight against terrorists in the Pak-Afghan region.
“I will work with the State Department and the Congress to incentivise Pakistan’s cooperation on issues critical to our national interests and the region’s security, with focus on Pakistan’s need to expel or neutralise externally-focused militant groups that operate within its borders,” said defence secretary-designate James Mattis.
Mr Mattis, a retired general with a long experience of dealing with Pakistan, also warned against sanctioning Pakistan.
“Conditioning our security assistance has a mixed history in the case of Pakistan, but I will review all options if I am confirmed,” he said. “In particular, we should be aware of any behaviour that supports Pakistan-based militant groups.”
The secretary of state-designate, Rex Tillerson, said that while the Trump administration will focus on trade and development issues, those priorities must not distract it from its ‘utmost mission’ of defeating terrorists. “Because when everything is a priority, nothing is a priority,” said Mr Tillerson explaining he wants the fight against terrorists to be a top priority.
But in the inauguration week, their top priority seems to be the undoing of the legacy of the country’s first colored president, Barack Obama, who completes his second and final term on Friday.
Aides say Mr Trump will go straight to the White House after the oath taking to issue executive orders for ending the Obama healthcare act, which the outgoing president wanted to outlive his eight-year rule.
Mr Trump will be the first president in the US history to take oath after losing the popular vote by a huge margin. His opponent, Mrs Clinton, received three million more votes than Mr Trump but lost the election because he captured more electoral votes than her.
The oath taking ceremony will be held on the west front of the US Capitol building in Washington, marking the commencement of Mr Trump’s four-year term and of Mike Pence as Vice President.
Former presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama, and their wives, the First Ladies, have all confirmed their attendance.
Hillary Clinton, Mr Trump’s main opponent in the election, will also be there. One former president, George H. W. Bush, however, will not attend the ceremonies due to health reasons.
Chief Justice John Roberts will administer the oath of office to Mr. Trump while Associate Justice Clarence Thomas will swear in Mr Pence.
Courtesy : Dawn News