India a ‘true friend’, Trump tells Modi

Updated - January 25, 2017 11:56 pm IST

Published - January 25, 2017 07:24 am IST - Washington

U.S. President Donald Trump.

U.S. President Donald Trump.

The U.S. considered India “a true friend and partner in addressing challenges around the world”, President Donald Trump told Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during a call on Tuesday afternoon.

“The two discussed opportunities to strengthen the partnership between the U.S. and India in broad areas such as the economy and defence,” a statement from the White House said.

Each leader invited the other to visit his country. Mr. Trump looked forward to hosting Mr. Modi later this year, the White House said. “President Trump and I agreed to work closely in the coming days to further strengthen our bilateral ties,” Mr. Modi tweeted.

Convergence of ideas

“They also discussed security in the region of South and Central Asia. President Trump and Prime Minister Modi resolved that the United States and India stand shoulder to shoulder in the global fight against terrorism,” the White House said.

The conversation and the invitations exchanged have increased speculation that the two leaders may meet in the next few months, earlier than expected.

Later this week, the American President is hosting British Prime Minister Theresa May in Washington but that is not a full state visit. In 2009, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was the first leader hosted by President Barack Obama. Officials in New Delhi said that in the normal course, Mr. Modi and Mr. Trump would be expected to meet first at the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany in early July, and then possibly on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, which Mr. Modi could attend this year.

Mr. Modi is the fifth world leader Mr. Trump spoke to after he assumed office on Friday. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Mexican President Pena Nieto, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi were the first four. On November 9, Mr. Modi was the fifth world leader to speak to Mr. Trump after he won the election.

Russian ties

Mr. Trump spoke to Mr. Modi before he spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin or Chinese Premier Xi Jinping. The White House said on Monday that the Russian Ambassador in Washington and National Security Adviser Michael Flynn spoke twice over setting up a call between the leaders, while the Foreign Ministry said in Moscow that it was being discussed.

On China, there has been no word from the White House, which ruled out a telephone conversation with Ms. May before her arrival on Thursday.


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