Trump Gushes About Pakistan In Call With Its Prime Minister : Parallels The U.S. and Pakistan have had strained relations for years. But in a phone call between Donald Trump and Pakistan's leader, the president-elect was full of effusive praise.

Trump Gushes About Pakistan In Call With Its Prime Minister

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Part of every president-elect's agenda is taking calls from foreign leaders. Those official conversations tend to be pretty dry - all careful talk about looking forward to working together. That was not how it played out on Wednesday when President-elect Donald Trump got a call from Pakistan's prime minister. NPR's Jackie Northam reports.

JACKIE NORTHAM, BYLINE: President-elect Trump has never been to Pakistan or met its prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, but he thinks the Pakistani leader has a very good reputation, is a terrific guy and doing amazing work. That's according to a readout of their conversation that was released by the Pakistani government's press office - two paragraphs of Trump gushing about Pakistan, saying he'd love to visit the fantastic country of fantastic people.

MICHAEL KUGELMAN: I was completely surprised.

NORTHAM: Michael Kugelman is a South Asia associate at the Wilson Center. He says it's not a verbatim transcript, but it has the ring of truth.

KUGELMAN: The tone of the conversation and even some of the words that were used were the type of language that Donald Trump would use.

NORTHAM: Dan Markey with Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies says it's remarkable Trump would be so effusive given the troubled relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan and Trump's own critical statements about the country.

DAN MARKEY: Calling into question what kind of an ally Pakistan has been, the war on terrorism, the hiding of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan - criticizing them for that, suggesting that Pakistan's no kind of friend to the United States.

NORTHAM: According to the Pakistani readout, Trump also offered to help with any outstanding problems. Markey says that could mean Kashmir, a territory claimed by both Pakistan and its archrival, India. Markey says New Delhi is likely concerned about Trump's conversation with Sharif.

MARKEY: When loose comments about helping Pakistan with whatever it needs are made, Indians can't help but wonder how the Pakistanis will try to use that to their advantage.

NORTHAM: The Wilson Center's Kugelman says this shows it's hard to know what to expect from Trump, especially when it comes to foreign policy.

KUGELMAN: Here we are expecting Trump would be in no hurry to reach out to Pakistan, and then he happily accepts a call from its prime minister and says incredibly nice thing. So who knows what's in store (laughter)?

NORTHAM: Trump's transition team released its own readout of the conversation. It was much more toned down and, well, presidential. Jackie Northam, NPR News.

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