Agencies, New Delhi
Trade barrier issues, terrorism, H-1B Visas, data flow, India’s missile defence system deal with Russia and situation arising out of US restrictions on buying oil from Iran,
are likely to figure prominently at the first bilateral talks between India and the US after the recent polls that gave an enhanced and renewed mandate to the Modi government.
Mr Pompeo, who about a fortnight ago had heaped praise on Prime Minister Modi and even echoed the BJP campaign line ‘Modi Hae toh Mumkin hae (With Modi everything is possible and achievable)’, met his Indian counterpart Dr S Jaishankar here on Wednesday.
Mr Pompeo is the first US dignitary to visit India after elections and also the first Foreign Minister to be hosted by EAM Jaishankar, MEA spokesman Raveesh Kumar said.
“Welcoming a special guest. Continuing the emphasis on high-level Indo-US exchanges, EAM Dr S Jaishankar warmly welcomed Secretary Pompeo as the first US dignitary to visit India after elections,” Mr Kumar tweeted.
Earlier in the day, Mr Pompeo called on Prime Minister Modi and also held parleys with the NSA Ajit Doval separately.
Mr Pompeo’s India visit comes ahead of a meeting between US President Donald Trump and PM Modi on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan possibly on June 28.
Dr Jaishankar hosted a working lunch for the visiting dignitary.
“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 spokesman said in another missive.
In Parliament, during Question Time, Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal sought to downplay the differences between the two sides on trade issues.
“…..there are trade issues, but all of which are on the basis of sovereign interests of both the countries,” Mr Goyal said.
Answering to supplementary queries, he said both the countries “protect their mutual trade and business interests and both the countries protect their strategic interest”.
Shortly after Mr Pompeo landed in Delhi on Tuesday evening, the US has favoured Indian government lowering the trade barriers and “embrace fair and reciprocal trade”.
“The Trump administration is working to ensure that American companies operating in India have the same level playing field that Indian companies enjoy in the United States. There is enormous potential to grow our trade relationship and create the high-quality jobs that Prime Minister Modi wants if India lowers trade barriers and embraces fair and reciprocal trade,” an US government statement has said.
On the eve of US Secretary of State’s visit sources in Indian government remained optimistic that there could be a ‘US waiver’ vis-a-vis Indian deal with the Russians for the defence system.
Sources also said here that the long standing defence relations between India and Russia cannot be wished away.