Pompeo preps PM Modi for Trump meet
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday and discussed various aspects of the bilateral relationship to strengthen the India-US strategic partnership.
New Delhi: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday and discussed various aspects of the bilateral relationship to strengthen the India-US strategic partnership.
Pompeo, who arrived here on Tuesday night, held detailed discussions with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar in the afternoon and have a working lunch with him.
"Working together to further deepen our strategic partnership. Secretary Pompeo called on PM 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," MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted along with pictures of the meeting.
While the US has continued to assert that the visit will further strengthen India's ties with the US, several contentious topics such as India's purchase of S-400 missile defence systems from Russia, terrorism, H1B visas, trade and the situation arising out of US sanctions on buying oil from Iran likely to be on the table, along with a host of other issues are the key issues during the discussions.
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, H1B visas, trade and the situation arising out of US sanctions on buying oil from Iran were discussed during the talks between Jaishankar and Pompeo.
Pompeo's talks here will be the first high-level interaction between the two countries after return of the Modi government to power last month.
National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval will also be holding talks with Pompeo on issues of terrorism and national security.
Focus points during Pompeo visit
Russia deal: India's purchase of S-400 missile systems from Russia, which has been slapped with sanctions by the US, has been a bone of contention between the two countries.
The matter will be brought up in the meetings between Jaishankar and Pompeo. India has maintained that it meets with all the waiver criteria set by the US in dealing with Russia.
H1B visas: Ahead of his visit, US had said that Pompeo will assure India that the country is not imposing further caps on the popular H-1B visas that are used by Indians.
A US official had said, "Secretary will be able to assure the Indian leadership that we have no plans to place caps on H-1B work visas for nations that are having foreign companies store data locally.
Terrorism: While US has repeatedly condemned Pakistan for not acting against terrorism breeding on its soil, the issue will again be back in focus on Wednesday and India is likely to bring up how Pakistan has failed to comply with the FATF norms on terror financing. Pakistan has been grey listed by the global terror watchdog for failing to control terror activities.
Iran sanctions: India has deep strategic relations with both the US and Iran, two countries that have been at loggerheads in the past few weeks.
US was almost on the verge of ordering airstrikes on Iran. On the issue of the situation arising out of the ending of exemptions from US sanctions to buy oil from Iran, diplomatic sources said a decision will be taken based on India's energy security and commercial considerations.
Trade: The Trump administration wants Prime Minister Narendra Modi to lower trade barriers and embrace fair and reciprocal trade, the United States said on Tuesday. Bilateral trade is likely to be an important topic of discussion during Pompeo's talks with the Indian leadership.
US companies see great opportunity in India and increased economic openness and investment will yield mutual benefit.
After his India visit from June 25-27, Pompeo will travel to Japan to attend the G-20 Summit with Trump.