Trump, Modi discuss Maldives

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Amid escalating political crisis in Maldives, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump spoke on phone yesterday and discussed the developments in the tiny island nation, the White House said.

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 Koreas nuclear program.

While China is working on forging close links with the nation of Indian Ocean atolls and backing Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen, New Delhi and Washington share a common perspective and want a return to democracy and an end to the state of emergency declared by Yameen on Monday.

Geo-political alignment and strategic consonance between the United States and India is proceeding apace going by the phone call initiated by President Trump to Prime Minister Modi on Thursday. The court had said that their trials were "politically motivated and flawed".

He also put Islamabad on notice for harbouring terrorists, and followed it up last month by withholding security assistance to Pakistan estimated at over $1 billion. The term "Indo-Pacific", now used by the U.S. as an alternative to Asia-Pacific, is seen as an attempt to increase India's clout as a counterbalance to China's regional influence.

Trump and Modi also discussed Afghanistan, a country at the center of India's rivalry with Pakistan, where New Delhi has recently increased foreign aid. The White House readout said Trump and Modi "agreed to strengthen security and economic cooperation as they look forward to the 2+2 ministerial dialogue between their defense and diplomatic officials in April".

This is the first call between the two leaders after a report that Trump mimics Modi's Indian accent. They also exchanged views on Burma and ways to address the plight of the Rohingya refugees.

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