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Modi speaks to Trump over phone, discusses Covid-19 situation among other issues

3 min read. Updated: 02 Jun 2020, 10:25 PM IST Elizabeth Roche Trump also invited Modi to the G7 summit in the US later this year Trump last week caused a major flutter when he offered to mediate between India and China over the ongoing border tensions between the two neighbors. NEW DELHI: India and the US discussed on Tuesday the ongoing border tensions between India and China during a telephone call between US President Donald Trump and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, made by the former to invite Modi to the G7 summit in the US later this year. This comes just days after the US president described the G7 group of industrialized countries as "very outdated" and postponed a scheduled summit to September announcing plans to include India, Russia, South Korea, and Australia in the meeting. According to a statement from the Indian foreign ministry, “President Trump spoke 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. In this context, he extended an invitation to Prime Minister Modi to attend the next G-7 Summit to be held in the USA." Last week, Trump had said that he did not think the G7 “properly represents what’s going on in the world." The G7, comprising France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the US, the UK, and Canada, were scheduled to meet in June. The summit was postponed to September after German Chancellor Angela Merkel refused to travel to the US given the novel coronavirus pandemic. Russia was added to the G7 to make it G8 in the mid-1990s and was a member of the so-called G8 till 2014 when it was ejected for the annexation of Crimea. The Indian statement said Modi commended Trump 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-19 world. The Prime Minister said that India would be happy to work with the US and other countries to ensure the success of the proposed Summit." In recent times, Modi has been calling for reforming institutions and multilateral grouping and bodies to accommodate countries like India. The Indian statement also said that Modi and Trump “exchanged views on other topical issues, such as the COVID-19 situation in the two countries, the situation on the India-China border, and the need for reforms in the World Health Organisation," the statement said Modi to the G7 summit in the US later this year invite Modi to the G7 summit in the US later this year. India and China both declined the offer. Tensions between the two Asian countries have been running high for the past three weeks with reports of physical clashes between troops across Ladakh and Sikkim. Troops of both countries have been engaged in a standoff in Ladakh for over three weeks at Pangong Tso, Galwan Valley, Demchok, and Daulat Beg Oldie. The trigger for the face-off was China’s opposition to India building a road around the Pangong Tso lake and another link road connecting the Darbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Oldie road in Galwan Valley, which lies close to the LAC. India has been building border infrastructure in recent years but is still behind China, which has motorable roads till LAC. The Indian statement added that Modi expressed his concern over the ongoing civil disturbances in the US, and conveyed his best wishes for an early resolution of the situation. Many cities in the US have seen protests after the death of George Flloyd, a black American, at the hands of a white police officer. During the telephone conversation, Trump recalled his visit to India in February this year, the statement said. Modi said the visit had been “memorable and historic" on many accounts and had also added new dynamism to the bilateral relationship. “The exceptional warmth and candor of the conversation reflected the special nature of the Indo-US ties, as well as the friendship and mutual esteem between both leaders," the statement added.