NEW DELHI: Days after his jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi “boasting about a ‘library’ he had built in Afghanistan”, US President Donald Trump and the Indian leader exchanged New Year greetings late Monday over the phone. “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,” a White House statement said.
A statement released by the Ministry of External Affairs, however, did not mention the trade deficit, Afghanistan or the Indo-Pacific. It said Trump and Modi “expressed satisfaction at the progress in India-US strategic partnership in 2018. They appreciated developments such as the launch of the new 2+2 Dialogue mechanism and the first-ever Trilateral Summit of India, the US and Japan”.
“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 MEA statement said.
US Prez mocks Modi
Last week, Trump said Modi was “telling me, he built a library in Afghanistan. Library! That’s like five hours of what we spend (in Afghanistan).”