Foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale arrived in the United States on Monday in connection with the bilateral Foreign Office Consultation and Strategic Security Dialogue with the Donald Trump administration. The foreign secretary will be meeting US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other senior leaders of the US Congress.
“Foreign Secretary is visiting Washington DC on March 11-13 in connection with the bilateral foreign office consultation and strategic security dialogue with his US counterparts, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale and Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Andrea Thompson respectively,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.
The Foreign Office Consultation and Strategic Security Dialogue, Kumar said, is a mechanism to review bilateral relations, exchange views on major foreign policy and security-related developments, and coordinate respective positions on issues of common interest.
Gokhale will hold talks with US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, David Hale and Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, Andrea Thompson.
According to Pompeo’s schedule for Monday released to the media, the State Department said the meeting between the US Secretary of State and Gokhale is scheduled at about 9 am local time or 6.30 pm IST.
“Secretary Pompeo meets with Indian Foreign Secretary Shri Vijay Gokhale at the Department of State,” the State Department said.
it is quite unusual for Pompeo to meet Gokhale in respect to protocol but over the last few years, the US Secretary of State has met the Foreign Secretary, including his predecessor S Jaishankar.
Gokhale’s three-day visit comes at the back of heightened tensions between India and Pakistan after the February 14 Pulwama terror attack.
Tensions between India and Pakistan escalated after Indian fighter jets bombed terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed’s biggest training camp near Balakot deep inside Pakistan on February 26.
Pakistan retaliated by attempting to target Indian military installations next day. However, the IAF thwarted their plans.
The Indian strike on the JeM camp was carried out 12 days after the terror outfit claimed responsibility for the Pulwama terror attack on a CRPF convoy in Kashmir, killing 40 soldiers.