January 8, 2020 1:45:25 am
AMID RISING tension between US and Iran following the killing of Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani in an American drone strike, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump discussed the developing situation over telephone, sources told The Indian Express.
This was their first conversation since September 2019 when they met in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. The call came two days after External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar discussed the “evolving situation” in the Gulf with US Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo, and highlighted India’s stakes and concerns.
In a readout of the latest chat, the White House said that Trump and Modi reviewed “regional security matters”. According to the Ministry of External Affairs, Modi told Trump that “India-US relations, which are built on trust, mutual respect and understanding, have grown from strength to strength”.
Explained: Why General Qassem Soleimani mattered
India has vital stakes in the region — from an 8-million-strong Indian expat community to massive oil imports.
“Today, President Donald J. Trump spoke with Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India to exchange New Year’s greetings. The leaders discussed ways to further strengthen the United States-India strategic partnership in 2020, and they also reviewed the regional security matters,” the White House said in its readout Monday.
In New Delhi, the MEA said: “The Prime Minister highlighted the significant progress made in deepening the Strategic Partnership between the two countries in the previous year and expressed his desire to continue to work with President Trump for enhancing cooperation in all areas of mutual interest”.
It said that “President Trump… expressed satisfaction at the achievements in the relationship in last few years and reiterated his readiness for further deepening bilateral cooperation”.
Last Friday, while responding to the killing of Soleimani, India had said that it has consistently advocated restraint and continues to do so, and that it is vital that the situation does not escalate further.
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