Mike Pompeo in India LIVE: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who arrived in India Tuesday, met today with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Foreign Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. H1-B visas, trade war and India’s purchase of Russia’s S-400 missile defense systems were to feature in talks between the two sides ahead of US President Donald Trump’s meeting with Modi on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan, June 28-29.
Pompeo will also meet Indian and American business leaders in a round table format and deliver a political speech at the India International Center here.
US trade is likely to be at the top of the list as the country calls on India to remove trade barriers. At the India Ideas Summit held in Washington DC earlier this month, Pompeo said: “We remain open to dialogue and hope that our Indian friends will remove their trade barriers and trust the competitiveness of their own businesses, own companies, their own people and private sector enterprises “.
India will once again insist on how it has worked over the last three years to reduce the trade deficit and is ready to enter into dialogue with the United States on this issue. The issue of the US withdrawal of duty-free access for Indian exporters under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) will certainly be raised.
An important aspect of this meeting will be defense cooperation and strategic engagement with reference to the Indo-Pacific and “The Quad”, a recent meeting in Bangkok.
But what may seem disappointing for New Delhi is the apparently hardened position of the United States on the Indian S-400 air defense system with Russia. In September, during the 2 + 2 dialogue, the Indian side was led to believe that the United States could exercise restraint in this regard, with the understanding that strengthening Indian defense systems is in the interest of the region.
However, just before Pompeo’s visit, a senior US State Department official said he “will encourage India to look for alternatives,” adding that the purchase of S-400 from Russia could make the subject to sanctions under the CAATSA (Anti-Opposition Law through US sanctions).
Just prior to this meeting, the issue of data localization also became important. Pompeo said: “We will also push for the free flow of data across borders, not only to help US businesses but also to protect data and protect consumer privacy. ”
MEA spokesman Raveesh Kumar said last week that India remains committed to the United States and would see how it could “dispel misconceptions” on the issue.
This, even as both parties reject the report that the United States will limit H1B visas for India in response to the location of the data. While the United States has dissociated the two issues, India will continue to focus on strengthening the H1B visa rules. India said it was engaged with both the US administration and Congress.
Finally, the current crisis concerning Iran could eventually cast a shadow over all these issues. While Pompeo goes to India after a visit to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, India would like to be informed of the current situation in his neighborhood.
The United States has already put an end to the derogation concerning the importation of oil from Iran. While New Delhi was seeking relief and continues to say that it would work in line with its national interest, reports suggest that imports are being drastically reduced.
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