In the first phone call between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump, the two leaders exchanged notes on a variety of issues — from economy to defence, terrorism to the regional security situation. Official sources told The Indian Express, PM Narendra Modi conveyed India’s concerns about proposed changes to the US H1-B visa programme by the United States and Donald Trump responded by saying he would consider India’s view. India bags almost 65 to 70 percent of H1-B visas issued by the US worldwide and this gave India’s skilled professionals a huge advantage. However, the issue of immigration and visa tightening have the corporate sector worried and PM Modi reflected those concerns. Sources said that Modi and Trump, who are likely to meet in July at the G-20 summit in Germany are likely to have further conversations on the issue in due course.
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In the conversation that took place on January 24, the US President also talked about America’s issue on the South China Sea. He expressed his interest in ensuring freedom of navigation in international waters claimed by the Chinese as their own. While talking about Pakistan, Modi also raised cross-border terrorism issue as a challenge confronting India’s growth, and peace and security in the region.
PM Modi was the fifth foreign leader to receive a call from the new US President that came ahead of similar calls to leaders from the European Union, Russia and China among others. PM Modi after the conversation, on January 25 tweeted: “Had a warm conversation with President @realDonaldTrump late last evening. Have also invited President Trump to visit India.”
Although, an official readout of the conversation from India has not yet been issued, on the other hand the White House readout that was issued on January 25, did not mention these specific issues but stated that during a call with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Trump emphasized that the United States considers India a true friend and partner in addressing challenges around the world. The two discussed opportunities to strengthen the partnership between the United States and India in broad areas such as the economy and defence. It also added that the leaders also discussed security in the region of South and Central Asia. President Trump and Prime Minister Modi resolved that the United States and India stand shoulder to shoulder in the global fight against terrorism. President Trump looked forward to hosting Prime Minister Modi in the United States later this year.