U.S. President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed reducing the U.S. trade deficit with India and increasing their cooperation in Afghanistan in a telephone call on Monday, the White House said.
“The leaders agreed to strengthen the U.S.-India strategic partnership in 2019 and exchanged perspectives on how to reduce the U.S. trade deficit with India, expand security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific, and increase cooperation in Afghanistan,” the White House said in a statement.
The two leaders “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,” said India in a statement.
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“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,” it added.
The United States has slapped tariffs on imports of steel and aluminium from India, part of Trump’s drive to reduce the U.S. trade deficit and boost American manufacturing jobs.
India has threatened to retaliate but said it would not take action until the end of this month.
In Afghanistan, Trump is planning to withdraw more than 5,000 of the 14,000 U.S. troops there, a U.S. official said last month.
President Trump has been seeking a more active role for India in Afghanistan beyond reconstruction — deploying troops to fight the Taliban