India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has accepted an invitation from US President Donald Trump to attend the next Group of Seven (G7) summit, India's foreign ministry officials said on Wednesday.
In a telephone call with Modi on Tuesday evening, Trump spoke about the US presidency of G7 and conveyed his desire to expand the ambit of the grouping beyond the existing membership to include other important countries, including India.
"In this context, he [Trump] extended an invitation to Prime Minister Modi to attend the next G7 Summit to be held in USA," the foreign ministry said.
Ministry officials confirmed that Modi had accepted the invitation and would attend the summit. In a statement late on Tuesday night, Modi's office said he commended Trump for his "creative and far-sighted approach, acknowledging the fact that such an expanded forum would be in keeping with the emerging realities of the post-Covid world”. “The prime minister said that India would be happy to work with the US and other countries to ensure the success of the proposed summit," it said.
On Sunday, Trump said he was postponing until September the G7 summit that had been scheduled for late June at Camp David, the US president's country retreat.
Trump also proposed an expansion of the grouping and said he wanted to invite India, Australia, South Korea and Russia to the meeting.
"I don't feel that as G7, it properly represents what's going on in the world. It's a very outdated group of countries," he said, conveying his desire to expand participation in the summit beyond the G7 members.
During their telephone conversation, the two leaders also exchanged views on the COVID-19 pandemic in their countries, India-China tensions over a recent border standoff, and a need for reforms in the World Health Organization (WHO), the Indian foreign ministry said.
A White House statement also said Trump and Modi discussed the G7 meeting, the response to the coronavirus pandemic and regional security issues.
Trump told Modi the US would ship the first tranche of 100 donated ventilators to India next week, the White House said.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and a senior congressional leader have reprimanded China for bullying behavior towards India during a military standoff on their disputed border.
During the call, Trump recalled his visit to India in February. Modi said the historic visit had added new dynamism to the bilateral relationship.