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16 Aug 2017

Trump calls Modi, both leaders plan to elevate "strategic consultations"

US President Donald Trump's phone call congratulating PM Narendra Modi over India's 70th Independence Day reportedly went beyond the usual pleasantries.

A White House read-out of the conversation said both leaders were ''resolved to enhance peace and stability across the Indo-Pacific region by establishing a new two-by-two ministerial dialogue that will elevate their strategic consultations.''

The message is another indicator of the Indo-US bonhomie.

In context

Trump's I-day greetings to Modi signal growing bonhomie


Indo-Pacific mention in press release a reference to China

The White House read-out doesn't elaborate on the nature of the new ministerial dialogue.

As of now, both countries have a long overdue annual strategic dialogue mechanism in place between senior cabinet officials of both sides.

The read-out also doesn't explicitly mention China or the Doklam standoff.

However, the mention of the Indo-Pacific can be seen as a reference to challenge China's regional predominance.

Trump didn't call Pakistani PM for I-day greetings

Interestingly, Trump made no phone call to Pakistani leaders to commemorate the country's Independence Day on August 14. This confirms Washington's long policy of de-hyphenating relations with both countries. It also indicates cooling of US-Pak ties under the Trump administration.

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Trump highlights US energy exports to India

During the call, Trump highlighted the "first ever shipment of American crude oil to India... from Texas this month,'' and pledged that America "would continue to be a reliable, long-term supplier of energy."

This indicates America is competing with Gulf/Arab states to sell oil to India.

Meanwhile, Modi thanked Trump for his "strong leadership uniting the world against the North Korean menace."

Modi and Trump talk about improving business ties

Modi and Trump also discussed how to improve business ties, specifically referring to the Global Entrepreneur Summit, scheduled to take place in Hyderabad this November. Trump has asked his daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump to lead the US delegation.

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