Trump also invited Modi to attend the summit meeting of an expanded Group of Seven, or G7. The US is its current chair and hosts the summit this year.
The two leaders discussed the “need for reforms in the World Health Organisation (WHO)”. On Friday, Trump had announced the US will terminate its relationship with the WHO, and said “China has total control over” the WHO.
On Saturday, announcing the postponement of the G7 summit meeting, Trump had said it was a “very outdated group”. He said he did not feel the group “properly represents what’s going on in the world”.
Trump suggested Russia, South Korea, Australia, and India should be admitted, and the grouping should be called G10 or G11. During their telephonic conversation, 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.”
Significantly, the conversation comes in the wake of India and China’s border tensions on the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
On Monday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had noted China moving its forces along the LAC. Areas along the LAC in Ladakh and North Sikkim have seen military build-up by both Indian and Chinese armies. The MEA statement said the telephonic conversation was marked by “exceptional warmth and candour”. It said this “reflected the special nature of the Indo-US ties, as well as the friendship and mutual esteem between both leaders.”
Trump had attended the ‘Howdy Modi’ event in Houston in September, and subsequently visited India with his family in February.
The MEA said Trump spoke to Modi “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.”
Modi said India would be happy to work with the US and other countries to ensure the success of the proposed summit. The PM expressed concern regarding the ongoing civil disturbances in the US, after the death of George Floyd sparked protests, and conveyed his best wishes for an early resolution of the situation.
Not only has Trump reached out to New Delhi as its border tensions have spiked with China, he has also sought India’s support in his decision to have the US walk out of the WHO. As for an expanded G7, the UK and Canada have opposed the readmission of Russia. The current members of the G7 are the US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the UK.
The G7 summit was scheduled to be held on June 10-11, but was postponed after German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed inability to attend due to the pandemic.