New Delhi- The border standoff between India and China, the ongoing civil disturbances in the US and need for reforms in the WHO were among a host of issues that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump discussed during a telephonic talk on Tuesday.
In the conversation, President Trump extended an invitation to Modi to attend the next G-7 summit to be held in the US, the Ministry of External Affairs said. On Saturday, Trump pitched for expansion of the G7 comprising the world’s most advanced economies by including India and three other countries.
“The two leaders 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,” the MEA said.
The talks between the two leaders came days after India rejected Trump’s offer of mediation to end the tense border standoff between India and China in eastern Ladakh. India had also rejected Trump’s claim that he spoke to Modi on the eastern Ladakh standoff.
In the conversation, Modi expressed concern regarding the ongoing civil disturbances in the US, and conveyed his best wishes for an early resolution of the situation, the MEA said.
“President Trump spoke about the US Presidency of the Group of Seven, and conveyed his desire to expand the ambit of the grouping beyond the existing membership, to include other important countries including India. In this context, he extended an invitation to Prime Minister Modi to attend the next G-7 Summit to be held in USA,” it said.
According to the ministry, Modi commended the US president 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.
In a tweet, Modi 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,” the prime minister added.
In the statement, the MEA said Trump warmly recalled his visit to India in February this year. 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.
China Rejects Third Party Intervention
Meanwhile China on Wednesday emphasised that there was no need for the intervention of a “third party” to resolve its current standoff with India as the two neighbours have full-fledged border-related mechanisms and communication channels to sort out their differences through dialogue.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a media briefing here that China’s position on the border issue with India was “consistent and clear” and both the countries have “earnestly” implemented the important consensus reached between their leaders.
Zhao was replying to a question about the phone call between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump on Tuesday during which the two leaders also discussed the border standoff between India and China.
“Now the situation there (at India-China border) is overall stable and controllable. China and India have full-fledged border-related mechanisms and communication channel. We have the capability to resolve the issue through dialogue and negotiation,” Zhao said.
“There is no need for the intervention of a third party,” he emphasised, in what is Beijing’s first official reaction to the discussion on the India-China border tensions between Modi and Trump.
President Trump last week said he was “ready, willing and able to mediate” between the two countries. “We have informed both India and China that the United States is ready, willing and able to mediate or arbitrate their now raging border dispute,” Trump said in a tweet last week.
Both India and China have rejected Trump’s offer of mediation.
“China’s position on the border issue is consistent and clear,” Zhao said and reiterated that the two neighbours have “earnestly implemented the important consensus” reached between their leaders.
The troops of India and China were engaged in a 73-day stand-off in Doklam tri-junction in 2017 which even triggered fears of a war between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.
Prime Minister Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping held their first informal summit in April 2018 in the Chinese city of Wuhan, months after the Doklam standoff.
In the summit, the two leaders decided to issue “strategic guidance” to their militaries to strengthen communications so that they can build trust and understanding.
Modi and Xi held their second informal summit in Mamallapuram near Chennai in October last year with a focus on further broadening bilateral ties.
“We have strictly abided by the relevant treaty between China and India and committed to upholding national territorial and sovereignty and security as well as upholding peace and stability in the border region,” Zhao said.
His remarks came in the backdrop of the continuing standoff between the militaries of India and China at the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Indian and Chinese troops were engaged in a bitter standoff in several areas along the Line of Actual Control in mountainous eastern Ladakh for close to four weeks. Both the countries are holding talks at military and diplomatic levels to resolve the dispute.
On May 5, the Indian and the Chinese army personnel clashed with iron rods, sticks, and even resorted to stone-pelting in the Pangong Tso lake area in which soldiers on both sides sustained injuries.
In a separate incident, nearly 150 Indian and Chinese military personnel were engaged in a face-off near Naku La Pass in the Sikkim sector on May 9.
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