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Thursday, July 02, 2020

In break from past, Delhi says Modi, Trump discussed India-China border situation

The Ministry of External Affairs said the border situation figured in the phone conversation between the two leaders when Trump called up Modi, two days after he said he would like to include India in the expanded G7.

Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi | Updated: June 3, 2020 6:48:53 am
Trump had earlier suggested that the Group of 7 be called “G10 or G11”, and proposed that the grouping meet in September or November this year. Inviting Modi to the next G7 Summit to be held in the US, he conveyed his desire to “expand the ambit of the grouping beyond the existing membership, to include other important countries including India”.

In a departure from precedent, New Delhi Tuesday said US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed the “situation on the India-China border”.

The Ministry of External Affairs, in a statement, said the border situation figured in the phone conversation between the two leaders when Trump called up Modi, two days after he said he would like to include India in the expanded G7.

Inviting Modi to the next G7 Summit to be held in the US, he conveyed his desire to “expand the ambit of the grouping beyond the existing membership, to include other important countries including India”.

Last week, Trump claimed he had spoken to Modi about the India-China border, but sources in New Delhi said there had been “no recent contact” between the two leaders. In a tweet earlier, he had called the LAC situation a “raging border dispute”.

Tuesday’s phone call was their first conversation in the backdrop of the tensions along the LAC. It followed the call between US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh last week.

This Indo-US exchange at the highest level comes amid a bruising war of words between Washington and Beijing on a range of issues — from Hong Kong’s autonomy to Taiwan, origins of the Covid-19 virus to South China Sea tensions and a trade war.

Explained | The G-7 group, in which Trump says he wants to include India

Referring to talks on the G7 expansion proposal, the MEA said: “Prime Minister Modi commended President Trump for his creative and far-sighted approach, acknowledging the fact that such an expanded forum would be in keeping with the emerging realities of the post-COVID world. The Prime Minister said that India would be happy to work with the US and other countries to ensure the success of the proposed Summit.”

It said the Prime Minister “expressed concern regarding the ongoing civil disturbances in the US, and conveyed his best wishes for an early resolution of the situation”.

The two leaders, the MEA said, also “exchanged views on other topical issues, such as the COVID-19 situation in the two countries, the situation on the India-China border, and the need for reforms in the World Health Organisation”.

Also read | Line of Actual Control: Where it is located, and where India and China differ

“President Trump warmly recalled his visit to India in February this year. Prime Minister Modi said that the visit had been memorable and historic on many accounts, and had also added new dynamism to the bilateral relationship. The exceptional warmth and candour of the conversation reflected the special nature of the Indo-US ties, as well as the friendship and mutual esteem between both leaders,” the MEA said.

Following the phone call, Modi, in a tweet, said: “Had a warm and productive conversation with my friend President @realDonaldTrump. We discussed his plans for the US Presidency of G-7, the COVID-19 pandemic, and many other issues. The richness and depth of India-US consultations will remain an important pillar of the post-COVID global architecture.”

Meanwhile, the spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry said: “The idea of an expanded #G7summit is in general a step in the right direction, but does not really mean a true representation. For instance, it is obvious that it is hardly possible to implement serious global initiatives without #China”. The statement was tweeted by the Russian embassy in India.

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