Pompeo will also meet Indian and US business leaders in a round-table format and deliver a policy speech at the India International Centre here.
US Secretary Pompeo said, India is a trading partner and top market for US’ export. There is enormous potential to grow trade and jobs between the two countries.
Glad to share my thoughts on #USIndia relations with Indian business leaders. The U.S. is #India’s best trading partner and top market for exports. There is enormous potential to grow our trade relationship and stimulate the jobs in both countries. pic.twitter.com/8aVtyceVJX— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) June 26, 2019
US Secretary Pompeo Calls on PM Narendra Modi | Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his strong commitment to achieve the full potential of bilateral relations in trade and economy, energy, defence, counter-terrorism and people-to-people contacts. The prime minister thanked secretary Pompeo for his warm greetings and requested him to convey his thanks also to President Donald Trump for his good wishes.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Iran is a state sponsor of terror and Indians have suffered from terror in the past. India and US shared understanding of threat and common purpose to ensure that the two countries deter the threat of terrorism.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo:We all know that Iran is world's largest state sponsor of terror&Indian people have suffered from terror around the world. We've a shared understanding of threat&a common purpose to ensure that we can keep energy at right prices&deter this threat pic.twitter.com/ViVQHCgOsq— ANI (@ANI) June 26, 2019
Concerns Around Iran | When asked about the United States' concern for India, as the latter's dependence on oil would be affected by the current state of affairs between the US and Iran, Jaishankar said that it was in everyone's interest to know that global energy supply remains predictable. He was assured that Pompeo understood this.
S Jaishankar said that he was confident of their ability to address any issues and was convinced of the solidity of their relationship, but said that there's always more work to be done. "All relationships are work-in-progress," he said. Mike Pompeo added that Indian interests in the US were appreciated deeply. He hoped there would be "as little theatre as possible" between the nations, and that they would work in a sincere way.
Mike Pompeo Talks to Media | Mike Pompeo said that the two leaders differed in their stance on the current trade relations between the two countries, but it was taken as a difference in the "spirit of friendship." He said he was hopeful to resolve the current US-India trade bottleneck, and any other economic dispute in the future.
Jaishankar and Pompeo Address Media | Union minister Jaishankar says that the two discussed defence, energy, and trade issues along with "people-topeople" concerns referring to NRIs, students, and Indian businesses in the US.
Press Statements (Visit of Secretary of State of The United States of America to India) https://t.co/a5R82F5IEu— Raveesh Kumar (@MEAIndia) June 26, 2019
Before the meetings, India was firm in saying that it cannot "wish away" defence ties with Moscow, adding that it meets the criteria for a US sanctions waiver for procuring S-400 missile defence systems from Russia and the Trump administration has "enough flexibility" on the issue. This was expected to be an important topic of discussion today.
Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted:
Welcoming a special guest!— Raveesh Kumar (@MEAIndia) June 26, 2019
Continuing the emphasis on high-level Indo-US exchanges, EAM @DrSJaishankar warmly welcomed @SecPompeo as the first US dignitary to visit India after elections. @SecPompeo is the first Foreign Minister to be hosted by EAM. pic.twitter.com/NVsgw9lA0j
India and the US have discussed defence on more than one occasion in the recent past. After the 2+2 meeting last year, and the US granting India Strategic Trade Authorization tier 1 status, meeting with the National Security Advisor becomes exceedingly relevant during Pompeo's visit. India's purchase of S-400s from Russia may become a point of discussion in the meeting.
The US trade is likely to feature right at the top, with the country asking India to drop trade barriers. At the ‘India Ideas Summit’ in Washington DC earlier this month, Pompeo had said, "We remain open to dialogue, and hope that our friends in India will drop their trade barriers and trust in the competitiveness of their own companies, their own businesses, their own people, and private sector companies."
India will once again emphasise on how it has worked over the last three years on reducing trade deficit and is willing to engage with the US on the issue. The issue of US withdrawing duty-free access to Indian exporters under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) will certainly be raised.
An important aspect of this meeting will be defence cooperation and strategic engagement with reference to Indo-Pacific and "The Quad", a meeting that was held recently in Bangkok.
But what may come as disappointment to New Delhi is America's seemingly hardened position on India's S-400 air defence system deal with Russia. In September, during the 2+2 dialogue, the Indian side was made to believe that America may go soft on this aspect with the understanding that strengthening of India's defence systems is in the interest of its partners engaged in the region.
However, just ahead of Pompeo's visit, a senior State Department official said that he will "encourage India to look at alternatives," adding that purchase of S-400s from Russia may attract sanctions under CAATSA (Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act).
Just ahead of this meeting, the issue of data localisation has also assumed significance, with Pompeo saying, “We will also push for free flow of data across borders, not just to help American companies but to protect data and secure consumers’ privacy."
MEA spokesperson, Raveesh Kumar had said last week that India remains engaged with US and will see how it can "dispel misconceptions" on the issue.
This, even as both sides reject the report that US will cap H1B visas for India as a response to data localisation. While US delinked both issues, India will continue to pursue the matter of tightening of H1B visa rules. India says it is engaged with both the US administration and the Congress over the matter.
And finally, what may emerge as casting a shadow over all these issues could be the current crisis with regards to Iran. While Pompeo heads to India after visiting Saudi Arabia and UAE, India would want to be briefed on the current situation in its neighbourhood.
The US has already discontinued the waiver on import of oil from Iran, and while New Delhi was looking at some relief and continues to say it will work as per its national interest, reports suggest that imports are being drastically cut down.
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