US President Donald Trump called Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi today and congratulated him on his recent electoral success, the White House said.
Press Secretary Sean Spicer told media that Trump congratulated Modi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on their electoral victories.
Following the elections held in five states that begun on February 4 and ended on March 9 after polling was rescheduled in some constituencies, Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) formed the government in four states: Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur. It, however, lost Punjab to main rival Congress in the results announced on March 11.
Anchored mainly by Modi and his aide Amit Shah, the BJP juggernaut rolled on in Uttar Pradesh and in the neighbouring state of Uttarakhand, bagging three-fourths majorities. The BJP returned to power in the politically-crucial state of UP after a gap of 15 years during which regional parties such as the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party held sway.
The elections in the five states had turned into a virtual referendum on Modi's popularity following his much-debated decision to demonetise INR 500 and INR 1,000 currency notes.
This is said to be the third telephone exchange between Trump and Modi since Trump's election victory on November 8, 2016. Previously, Modi and Trump talked by phone on January 24, when they had resolved to stand "shoulder-to-shoulder" in the global fight against terrorism and for defence and security.
According to a White House statement then, Trump had "emphasised that the US considers India a true friend and partner in addressing challenges around the world."
The two leaders have invited each other to visit their respective countries, and the UP felicitation appears to be just a cover for a more substantive conversation involving an upcoming personal meeting.