US President Donald Trump “encouraged” Prime Minister Narendra Modi to improve relations with Pakistan and fulfil his promise to better the lives of the Kashmiri people, according to a readout issued by the White House of the bilateral meeting between the two leaders.

Prime Minister Modi and President Trump met on Tuesday on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly session here — their fourth meeting since Modi came to power for a second term in May this year. Their 40-minute discussion mainly focussed on the bilateral trade and issues related to terrorism emanating from Pakistan.

The President noted good progress on defence and security cooperation, the readout said. “Additionally, the President encouraged Prime Minister Modi to improve relations with Pakistan and fulfil his promise to better the lives of the Kashmiri people,” it added.

Increased tensions

Tensions between India and Pakistan spiked after India abrogated provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. India’s action evoked strong reactions from Pakistan which downgraded diplomatic ties with New Delhi and expelled the Indian Ambassador.

Pakistan has been trying to internationalise the Kashmir issue but India has asserted that the abrogation of Article 370 was its “internal matter”.

Both leaders also expressed concerns about the situation in Afghanistan and shared ideas about how to work together to promote security and prosperity in the country, it said. The two leaders discussed progress on different aspects of their strategic partnership and upcoming opportunities to ensure it remains strong, it added.

Trump reaffirmed the importance of greatly increasing trade between the US and India, and highlighted the need for “resolving barriers to free, fair, and reciprocal trade, which includes improving United States companies’ market access in India,” it said.

The meeting between Trump and Modi comes two days after they met on Sunday in Houston and shared the stage at ‘Howdy, Modi’ gala event where they displayed a close friendship and a common vision on fighting terrorism.