ISLAMABAD: Shuja Nawaz, distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center in Washington DC, has said that Pakistan should focus and concentrate on its economic development, because by achieving it, relations with the new Trump administration in the United States can be improved. He was delivering a lecture on ‘Trump Administration: Emerging Opportunities for South Asia’, organised by the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) on Wednesday.Shuja Nawaz said that at times even President Trump didn’t know what he was talking about. “Liberal elements and intellectuals have concerns regarding him. At least 700 to 800 people are required for the governmental and administrative positions in the US.” He said that General Mattis was a good choice for the slot of defense secretary, but after the resignation of Trump’s national security adviser Michael Flynn, if any other high official resigned, the country would be in a state of political turmoil.He said that Pakistan could not have a policy based on seventy years of assumptions and fears. “This kind of thinking needs to be reshaped in the context of regional policy, and will require a powerful introspection over a strategic policy that encompasses all the key elements of Pakistani society.” He said that the US assistance to Pakistan had already been reduced to almost $900 million before the new administration took charge. He stressed the need for improving the economy of Pakistan and believed that if growth increases, Pakistan’s security would automatically improve. He agreed that both the countries’ relations should be based on mutual trust and respect.He said that Indo-US relations were also business-oriented. To a question regarding the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), he said that the US had expressed its support for the Silk Route and did not oppose it.On the US not succeeding in Afghanistan, he said, “I don’t think the US has the capacity to win the war in Afghanistan, as the USSR also remained unsuccessful there.”Shuja Nawaz acknowledged that President Trump had changed the political thinking in the United States.He pointed out that under the new US administration; there would be a very different kind of relationship between the US and the region – the policy of a “Greater South Asia”. He asserted that it was very critical that leaders in South Asia, particularly Pakistan, should preempt President Trump’s moves and make decisions that were good for their countries.Moreover, this would provide them with a great opportunity to try and wean themselves off US assistance, he said.He said that Pakistan and Afghanistan needed to rethink their trade strategy and engage in the easiest, cheapest and fastest ways in this regard to ensure that both economies grow together.He said that Pakistan had the leverage, and could gain by providing transit gas from Iran to Afghanistan.He said that in the historical perspective, the US had established relations in Pakistan with individuals and parties, not with the public. He suggested US policymakers to build relations with the people of Pakistan.Earlier, Ambassador Khalid Mahmood, chairman of the ISSI Board of Governors, said that the aftershocks of the US elections were still being felt all over the world. Even though South Asia did not figure prominently during the election campaign, its significance had not diminished, he said. “Contrary to how India is seen, Pakistan is regarded only through a security lens in terms of terrorism, the Afghan settlement and nuclear technology.”He said that Trump’s entire negative prognosis had only further fuelled tensions in the region.