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Trump said no relationship would be more important to the US than India

Trump was at odds with India when he said he'd mediate the Kashmir dispute

Washington CNN  — 

Donald Trump proclaimed Saturday that if elected, the US would be “best friends” with India, a comment that could cause consternation in Pakistan.

“We’re going to be best friends,” Trump said of India during remarks at a Republican Hindu Coalition event. “There isn’t going to be any relationship more important to us.”

The Embassy of Pakistan did not immediately respond to a CNN request for comment.

However, in an interview with the Hindustan Times just before addressing the crowd of Indian-Americans, Trump said he’d be willing to play a mediating role in addressing the “very, very hot tinderbox” of Kashmir between India and Pakistan.

India and Pakistan’s Kashmir dispute: What you need to know

“If it was necessary I would do that. If we could get India and Pakistan getting along, I would be honored to do that. That would be a tremendous achievement … I think if they wanted me to, I would love to be the mediator or arbitrator,” Trump said in the interview.

01:35 - Source: CNN
Kashmir: A bitter dispute

India has long opposed third-party mediation on Kashmir. It rejected United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s offer in late September to play a role.

Pakistan, on the other hand, has sought international help in resolving the decades-long conflict.

Recently, it accused India of what it sees as humanitarian violations in Indian-administered Kashmir.

The conflict in Kashmir has flared up in recent weeks, with tensions at their worst in a decade.

More than a dozen Indian soldiers were killed in an attack on an army base last month. India pointed the finger at Pakistan, which denied the accusations, and responded by carrying out what it called “surgical strikes” in the disputed border region.

Another mediation offer raised eyebrows in India in 2008, when then-Sen. Barack Obama, a candidate for president, suggested a US role in mediating the Kashmir dispute. Obama hasn’t again suggested such a role. And the United States’ position has been that it would mediate, but only if both sides reached out and asked it to step in.

CNN’s Jeremy Diamond, Ravi Agrawal and Joshua Berlinger contributed to this report.