Modi, Trump Discuss Trade Deficit, Afghanistan Over Phone Call

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump on Monday, 7 January, held discussions over several issues in a telephonic conversation. According to Reuters, the two discussed reducing the US trade deficit with India and about their cooperation 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.”" - Statement of White House

The US has imposed tariffs on imports of steel and aluminium from India. Trump is doing so to reduce the US trade deficit and bump up the manufacturing jobs for the Americans.

Though India has threatened of action, it said that it will not be taking any action until the end of January.

According to ANI, Modi and Trump took note of growing bilateral cooperation in defence, counter-terrorism and energy and also coordination on regional and global issues.

Last week, Trump has mocked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over funding a "library" in war-torn Afghanistan, saying it is of no use there as he criticized India and others for not doing enough for the nation's security.

It was unclear to which “library” project Trump was referring to. His comments were dismissed by India, with sources in New Delhi saying that the government does not send troops abroad except under specific UN mandate.

According to Reuters, the president is likely to withdraw more than 5,000 US troops from Afghanistan.

(With inputs from ANI and Reuters)

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