Only three countries have a hotline with US: Russia, Great Britain and China. Now, India has joined that coveted list. Also, this is India’s first hotline at the level of Head of State.
The hotlines, or secure lines of communication, between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama and their respective national security advisers have recently become operational.
The decision regarding Obama-Modi hotline was taken during Obama’s visit to New Delhi to attend the 66th Republic Day as the chief guest, reports Indian Express
Peter R Lavoy, special assistant to US President and senior director for South Asian Affairs at the National Security Council of the White House, said:
“It (hotline has) just recently been established. It (hotline) has not been used so far.”
The hotline comes following efforts by Obama and Modi to increase the frequency of level of communication and frequent discussions between them on key bilateral, regional and global issues.
During Obama’s last visit in India, Modi had said the two leaders have decided to give this critical partnership its due trust and sustained attention. Though a hotline is usually seen as a phone or system to be used in international crisis management only, an official at the White House explained:
“This is a secure line between two very very close partners so that they can exchange views at the heads of state level…exchange views and co-ordinate approaches to solving real problems.”
In 2004, India and Pakistan agreed to establish hotlines at the level of foreign secretaries, but it is seldom used.
In 2010 New Delhi and Beijing announced to establish a hotline at the foreign minister level. According to publicly available information the hotline between India and Pakistan was established with the help of US military. India-China hotline is yet to become operational. Though the US-India hotline is yet to become operational, social media, as usual, found something very funny to talk about. So if you are wondering what Modi and Obama will be talking over on the hotline, thank Zaid Hamid-Best Comedian
for figuring it out for us.
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