Published: Sun, February 11, 2018
World | By Paul Elliott

Trump, Modi discuss Afghan security, Rohingya crisis, North Korea

Trump, Modi discuss Afghan security, Rohingya crisis, North Korea

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump pledged to strengthen security and economic cooperation and build on the Indo-Pacific partnership during a wide-ranging phone conversation, according to the White House.

"Affirming President Trump's South Asia strategy, they reiterated their commitment to supporting Afghanistan's security and stability", the statement read.

Trump and Modi also addressed North Korea, the White House said.Washington has been leading diplomatic efforts to ramp up worldwide pressure on Pyongyang over its nuclear weapons and missile programs, out of concern they may eventually enable North Korea to attack the United States. However, it has banned the trade of goods except for food and medicines, reported Reuters.

As envoys for the Yameen administration have been sent to China, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, the U.S. joined India in condemning the political crackdown. The court had said that their trials were "politically motivated and flawed".

The Yameen government has refused to implement the ruling, prompting a wave of protests in Maldives capital, Male.

The two leaders spoke on enhancing security in Indo-Pacific region, Afghan war, ongoing political crisis in the Maldives, the situation of Myanmar's Rohingya refugees and North Korea's nuclear program. The conversation also included the 680,000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar who have been living in Bangladesh, and which has strained the economy of the country.

The US believes that this is not the right time for the return of Rohingya refugees.

Trump and Modi discussed further steps to ensure denuclearisation of North Korea, TOI said.

Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj met with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in October in New Delhi and defended India's ties with Pyongyang, saying some level of diplomatic presence was necessary to keep open channels of communication.

President Trump and PM Narendra Modi spoke on the phone for the first time in January a year ago.

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