Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump engaged in a telephonic conversation to discuss important matters on Thursday. The two leaders expressed concern over the political crisis going on in the Maldives. They also talked about the situation in Afghanistan and about strengthening security in the Indo Pacific region.
The Maldives is currently facing a political crisis and a state of emergency has been declared in the island nation. It all started last week when Supreme Court ordered the release of 9 political prisoners stating that their trials were “flawed”. The ruling government refused to implement the ruling which led to a huge protest and chaos. Later, the government declared a state of emergency in Maldives and two judges were arrested.
The White House stated the readout of the phone call, “Both leaders expressed concern about the political crisis in the Maldives and the importance of respect for democratic institutions and rule of law.” The readout further mentioned, “Affirming President Trump’s South Asia strategy, they reiterated their commitment to supporting Afghanistan’s security and stability.”
It’s important to note that India has increased its aid to Afghanistan in the recent years while the US has cut aid to Pakistan, which is India’s arch-rival. The US accused Pakistan of failing to root out Taliban and Haqqani network militants that have been involved in the long-running war in Afghanistan.
US President Donald Trump and PM Modi also discussed the condition of Rohingya refugees in Myanmar. Currently, there are 6,80,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh which is evidently putting a lot of pressure on its economy. While Myanmar and Bangladesh have agreed on a roadmap of return of these refugees, US feels it’s not the right time as of now for the refugees to return.
The two leaders have also agreed on improving the security and economic cooperation and are looking forward to the ‘2+2’ ministerial dialogue between their defense and diplomatic officials. India’s Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and their US Counterparts defense secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson are going to participate in the dialogue.