Pompeo meets Modi, discusses key strategic issues


Pompeo meets Modi, discusses key strategic issues

New Delhi - Pompeo's visit is expected to lay the ground for talks between Trump and Modi later in the week.

By Reuters

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Published: Wed 26 Jun 2019, 9:12 AM

Last updated: Wed 26 Jun 2019, 8:07 PM

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday and discussed various aspects of the bilateral relationship to strengthen the India-US strategic partnership.
Pompeo, who arrived in New Delhi on Tuesday night, met External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar.

Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar of the External Affairs Ministry tweeted: "Continuing the emphasis on high-level Indo-US exchanges, Jaishankar warmly welcomed Pompeo as the first US dignitary to visit India after elections. Pompeo is the first Foreign Minister to be hosted by EAM."

Before meeting Jaishankar, Pompeo met National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.

"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.
Ahead of the strategically-important India-US talks, diplomatic sources on Tuesday said India meets the US waiver criteria for procuring the S-400 missile defence system from sanctions-hit Russia, and asserted that New Delhi cannot "wish away" its defence ties with Moscow.
Besides India's missile defence system deal with Russia, terrorism, H-1B visas, trade and the situation arising out of US sanctions on buying oil from Iran, are likely to be discussed on Wednesday during the talks between Jaishankar and Pompeo.
Relations between the United States and India have improved dramatically since the Cold War but they have still fallen short of their promise and now have run into serious problems over tariffs, flows of data and tighter Indian rules on online commerce in one of the world's fastest growing large markets.
Pompeo's visit is expected to lay the ground for talks between Trump and Modi later in the week on the sidelines of the G20 summit in the Japanese city of Osaka.
India hopes that this week's high-level meetings will help re-start talks over a trade package the two had been negotiating for months, the official said.
In recent weeks, the United States has also stepped up pressure on India not to proceed with its purchase of S-400 surface-to-air missile systems from Russia.
India says the missiles are necessary to bolster defences against China, but Washington has said it would prefer India to consider other options including US defence firms for alternative weapons systems.
A second Indian official said India believed it had a case for a waiver from US sanctions should it go ahead with the missile system purchase from Russia.
Washington has also threatened to impose sanctions on Turkey, a NATO ally, which is also buying the S-400 system.
Under US pressure India has stopped buying oil from Iran, one of its top suppliers, and the two Indian officials said the oil-dependent economy had taken a hit as a result.
Now, with tensions rising between the United States and Iran, New Delhi is further worried about the security of its energy supplies.

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