Modi Trump, Modi in US
President Donald Trump arrives for a joint news conference with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington.Reuters

US President Donald Trump and Indian PM Narendra Modi spoke over the phone on Thursday, February 8, and discussed issues of mutual concern including the Maldives crisis, Rohingya refugees, North Korea and the war in Afghanistan.

While India and US have been working toward strengthening economic as well as military ties, the situation in the island nation of Maldives has also become a concern for the two nations.

The Maldives, an island nation in the Indian Ocean, has been facing a severe political crisis for the last few days with its president Abdulla Yameen refusing to comply with the Supreme Court's order to reinstate MPs of the opposition and also denying release to political prisoners. An emergency has now been declared in the Maldives.

China, yesterday, cautioned against external intervention in the Maldives crisis.

Trump and Modi "expressed concern about the political crisis in the Maldives and the importance of respect for democratic institutions and rule of law," the White House said in a statement.

The Indian government had earlier expressed concerns over the crisis and said it "disturbed by the declaration of a state of emergency." However, when Maldives' president Abdulla Yameen wanted to send his foreign minister as special envoy to India to discuss the crisis, India turned down the offer and explained that there were no "suitable dates."

The Maldives has already sent special envoys to China, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

"India was, in fact, the first stop planned and proposed for a visit of a special envoy of the president of Maldives. However, the dates proposed were not suitable for the Indian leadership," Maldivian envoy Ahmed Mohamed told the Press Trust of India. "We understand the external affairs minister is out of country and the prime minister is leaving for UAE during the week."

The two leaders then discussed the Rohingya crisis and the plight of thousands of Rohingya's who have fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar after a military crackdown in Rakhine state.

Modi and Trump also spoke about North Korea and its nuclear programme. They discussed measures to denuclearize Pyongyang after the reclusive nation has been testing one weapon after another. While the US and UN have imposed several sanctions on North Korea, India maintains diplomatic ties with the nation. However, it has banned the trade of goods except for food and medicines, reported Reuters.