Hotline Talks: When Narendra Modi spoke to Barack Obama for an hour about climate change

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama spoke for an hour over a hotline on Tuesday to discuss the progress made in climate change negotiations in Paris. The call “lasted for over an hour”, the US Ambassador to India, Richard Verma said in his address to the Brookings Institute, a top American think-tank. This was only the second ever telephonic conversation between the two leaders over the hotline or secure line of communication, which was established this summer.

Obama had telephoned Modi to discuss the progress made in climate change negotiations currently underway in Paris. According to a readout of the call issued by the White House, the call was initiated by Obama and the two leaders discussed primarily climate change issues in the context of the ongoing negotiations in Paris.

“Both leaders emphasised their personal commitment to secure a strong climate change agreement this week and their interest in our countries’ working together to achieve a successful outcome,” the White House had said.

While there is no official record in public domain of the duration of Obama’s telephonic conversation with foreign leaders, the White House in the past did refer to the lengthy telephonic call the President had with his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro last December.

At a news conference last year, Obama had told reporters that when he spoke with Castro for the first time he started with a lengthy statement. “At the end of my remarks, I apologised for taking, you know, such a long time,” Obama had said. The call had lasted for 45 minutes. “Don’t worry about it, Mr President. You’re still a young man, and you have still the chance to break Fidel’s record. He once spoke for seven hours straight,” Castro said according to Obama.