Pompeo holds discussions on strategic issues with PM Modi

June 26: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday and and discussed various aspects of the bilateral relationship, India-US strategic partnership along with issues relating to India’s arms deal with Russia, Iran, terrorism, H1B visas, Pakistan, trade and retaliatory tariffs.

Pompeo also met Foreign Minister S Jaishankar to prepare the groundwork for the summit level meeting between US President Donald Trump and PM Modi on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan on July 28.

Despite US objections coupled with sanctions threat, India plans to go ahead with the deal of purchasing the S-400 missile system from Moscow. With respect to S-400, US has told its allies and partners, including India, to end defence ties with Russia that risk triggering CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act) .Washington has told India to look for another alternatives. But India is having long-standing defence ties with Russia and will go ahead to buy S-400 which is far superior than any other system, be that the American Patriot.

“Working together to further deepen our strategic partnership. Secretary Pompeo called on PM Narendra Modi to exchange views on various aspects of Indo-US relationship. PM will meet President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the upcoming G20 Osaka Summit,” Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted along with pictures of the meeting.

“We will be meeting with a positive attitude…The meeting with Mike Pompeo will be an important one. We will definitely discuss issues related to trade between the two countries,” Mr Jaishankar told reporters on Tuesday. “Both the countries are having their own interests. And it is natural to have some conflicts because of that. We will find a common ground using diplomacy. We will hold discussions with the US with a positive approach,” he added.

The three-day India visit by US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo beginning Tuesday night is “very important” at this juncture
as it comes after the Narendra Modi government returned to power for a consecutive second term. and before the US elections that are set to take place next year.

Another issue that US will be discussing with India is Iran as the tensions between US and Iran have escalated to the highest level, Pompeo is engaged in building a global coalition against Iran after oil tankers attack in the Strait of Hormuz.

To counter China, US is seeking to strengthen ties with India and to regain its influence in the Indo-Pacific region where Beijing influence has increased manyfold. India succumbed to U.S. pressure and gave up oil purchases from Iran when a sanctions waiver ran out in May.

Although the relationship between India and US is in troubled economic waters, both the countries are more focussed on their strategic priorities.

Jaishankar said that New Delhi was handling several sensitive diplomatic issues and the “present situation between the US and Iran was one of them”.

MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar earlier said that Pompeo’s visit will strengthen Indo-US strategic partnership and boost talks on terrorism, bilateral relationship, regional unrest and other global issues.

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