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US Again Postpones 2+2 Dialogue With India Amid Tension Over Tariff, Iran Oil Imports

MEA Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman were supposed to head to the US next week for talks with their American counterparts Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary James Mattis.

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Updated:June 28, 2018, 8:00 AM IST
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US Again Postpones 2+2 Dialogue With India Amid Tension Over Tariff, Iran Oil Imports
US President Donald Trump with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House in 2017. (Image: AP)
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New Delhi: Hours after the United States accused India of overcharging American products and warned the government against oil imports from Iran, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo dialed up Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday evening to postpone the maiden 2+2 Dialogue that was supposed to take place next week.

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson, Raveesh Kumar tweeted: “US @SecPompeo spoke to EAM @SushmaSwaraj a short while ago to express his regret and deep disappointment at the US having to postpone the 2+2 Dialogue for unavoidable reasons."

Pompeo stopped short of citing any particular reason behind this sudden move to "postpone" the July 6 meeting. Kumar added, “US @SecPompeo sought EAM @SushmaSwaraj understanding, and they agreed to identify new mutually convenient dates to hold the Dialogue at the earliest, in India or the US.”

India and US have improved convergence on defence, security and other strategic issues, but the economic relationship is headed for a rocky patch with the Trump administration threatening a tariff conflict.


“We have countries where, as an example, India, they charge up as much as 100 per cent tariff. We want the tariffs removed,” Trump said on Wednesday.

US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley met PM Narendra Modi on Wednesday and reiterated that it was important for India to cut its dependence on Iranian oil.

The United States had earlier asserted that India and all other countries should stop their imports of crude oil from Iran by November 4 and re-abide by the re-imposed US sanctions on the Middle East nation.

Given the huge energy needs, India and China are major importers of Iranian oil with India being the second largest buyer of Iran’s crude oil and Beijing being the third. Besides, Iran is India's third largest oil supplier.

The US Congress is currently debating whether or not to impose sanctions on India over its purchase of the S400 air defence systems from Russia.

MEA Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman were supposed to head to the US next week for talks with their American counterparts Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary James Mattis.

This is the second time that the US has postponed the inaugural two-day dialogue, which was announced last summer when Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a successful meeting with President Trump at the White House.

This new dialogue format was agreed upon between the two sides during the visit of PM Modi to Washington in June 2017.

The meeting was earlier scheduled to take place on April 18-19 but the US had postponed it due to the uncertainty over the confirmation of Mike Pompeo as the new Secretary of State after US President Donald Trump fired Rex Tillerson.

After June last year, the two countries have tried to schedule the dialogue many times with several dates having been considered.
| Edited by: Sanchari Chatterjee
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