Donald Trump has spoken to Nawaz Sharif, the prime minister of Pakistan, in which he apparently described Pakistanis as “one of the most intelligent people”.
“You have a very good reputation. You are a terrific guy,” Mr Trump told Mr Sharif, according to a summary of the conversation, issued by the Pakistani government. “You are doing amazing work which is visible in every way.”
“I am looking forward to see [sic] you soon. As I am talking to you Prime Minister, I feel I am talking to a person I have known for long,” he continued, according to the readout.
The president-elect did not limit his praise to Mr Sharif.
“Pakistanis are one of the most intelligent people,” he said. “Your country is amazing with tremendous opportunities.”
Mr Trump also seemed to accept Mr Sharif’s invitation to visit Pakistan, something that could ruffle feathers in India.
George W Bush made the most recent presidential visit to Islamabad in 2006.
As noted by the New Republic, such a visit would typically only be agreed after painstaking negotiations.
“On being invited to visit Pakistan by the Prime Minister, Mr Trump said that he would love to come to a fantastic country, fantastic place of fantastic people,” the summary reads.
The readout ends: “Please convey to the Pakistani people that they are amazing and all Pakistanis I have known are exceptional people,” he said.
Mr Trump also told Mr Sharif to feel free to call him any time, even before he replaces Barack Obama in the Oval Office. There was no statement on the call from the president-elect.
The message was a far cry from comments Mr Trump made on Twitter in 2012:
“Get it straight: Pakistan is not our friend. We’ve given them billions and billions of dollars, and what (cont) http://t.co/O5S4cQV3
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 17, 2012
Mr Trump has also expressed admiration for India.
“I am a big fan of Hindu and I am a big fan of India. Big, big fan,” he said in October while appearing at a Republican Hindu Coalition fundraiser in Washington.
When will Pakistan apologize to us for providing safe sanctuary to Osama Bin Laden for 6 years?! Some "ally."
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 5, 2012
“Under a Trump administration we are going to become even better friends,” he said of India at the time.
“In fact, I’ll take the word ‘even’ out because we are going to be best friends. There won’t be any relationship more important to us.”