Hotline between PMO and White House to continue post January 20

WASHINGTON: The hotline established in 2015 between Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will continue to exist after the outgoing US President hands over the baton to his successor Donald Trump on January 20, a presidential aide has suggested. It is the only new hotline that was established during the eight years of Obama Administration, reflecting on deepening of India-US ties. “I’d be surprised if that was something that was discontinued,” said White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest.

“Typically, those kinds of arrangements are intended to persist beyond just one presidential term,” he said in response to a question yesterday. The decision to establish the hotline was finalised during Obama’s historic visit to India in 2015 to attend the annual Republic Day parade on January 26 as its chief guest.

Modi had then said the effort was part of their exercise to give the critical partnership between two countries “a new thrust and sustained attention.” After its established later that year, the two leaders have frequently interacted over the hotline even though only a few of those conversations have appeared in public domain. At least one of those conversations lasted for more than an hour, according to the US Ambassador to India.

India is only the fourth country after Russia, Britain and China with which the US has a hotline. For India, this is the first hotline at the level of the head of state. In 2004, India and Pakistan agreed to establish hotlines at the level of foreign secretaries, and in 2010 New Delhi and Beijing announced to establish a hotline at the foreign ministry level.Hotline between PMO and White House to continue post January 20.

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