New Delhi (Sputnik) — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump discussed a range of bilateral issues including their co-operation in Afghanistan in a telephone conversation on Monday.
— ANI (@ANI) January 8, 2019
The phone call took place a few days after the controversial remark made by Trump wherein he belittled India's assistance to help build a library in Afghanistan.
"The leaders agreed to strengthen the US-India strategic partnership in 2019 and exchanged perspectives on how to reduce the US trade deficit with India, expand security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific, and increase cooperation in Afghanistan", the White House said in a statement.
"The two leaders took positive note of growing bilateral cooperation in defence, counter-terrorism and energy and coordination on regional and global issues. They agreed to continue to work together for further strengthening India-US bilateral relations in 2019", the statement issued by India's Ministry of External Affairs reads.
India had strongly contested Trump's dig at Modi and said that "India firmly believes in the critical role that developmental assistance can play in transforming human lives. India does not send its armed forces abroad except under the specific mandate of UN Peacekeeping Operations".
— ANI (@ANI) January 3, 2019
India has been Afghanistan's close ally and has committed over $3 billion to various development projects in the landlocked country, as well as financing its new parliament building.
For last few weeks, proposed changes to the US policy in Syria and Afghanistan have expedited the consultations among regional players like India and Russia. Trump is planning to withdraw more than 5,000 of the 14,000 US troops currently stationed in Afghanistan.