The US president and the Indian prime minister also discussed the trade issue during their call, says the White House.
Looks like President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and have put behind the Afghanistan library comment behind them and are in a mood to discuss trade and Afghanistan.
The White House said on Monday that the two leaders spoke on the phone and talk centered around increasing their co-operation in Afghanistan and also on reducing the trade deficit with India.
In his first cabinet meeting of the year, on January 2, the president had mocked India’s construction of a library, in Afghanistan, saying that it is of no-use in the war-torn country. In the same meeting, Trump had also said that India and other countries were not doing enough for the security of Afghanistan.
The White House released a statement which read: “The leaders agreed to strengthen the U.S.-India strategic partnership in 2019 and exchanged perspectives on how to reduce the U.S. trade deficit with India, expand security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific, and increase cooperation in Afghanistan.”
As part of Trump’s drive to reduce US trade tariffs and boost American jobs, the United States has slapped tariffs on import of steel and aluminum from India. While it had threatened to retaliate, New Delhi has said that it won’t take any action until the end of this month.
In Afghanistan, Trump’s plan is to withdraw more than 5,000 of the 14,000 troops there. Once that happens, the United States would have to curtail its missions in Afghanistan which also include waging an air campaign against Taliban and other terrorist groups.
Trump mocks Modi for funding library in Afghanistan (January 3, 2019)
Trump imitates Modi over Harley-Davidson row (February 28, 2018)
Trump ‘known to’ mimic Narendra Modi’s accent (January 22, 2018)