US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met his counterpart S. Jaishankar on his visit to India on Wednesday. His visit is the first high-level engagement between the two countries since Modi government’s re-election last month.
The leaders issued a joint statement after the conclusion of the bilateral talks. From Iran to trade issues, here are the highlights of the Jaishankar-Pompeo meeting:
Pompeo hopeful to resolve the current US-India trade differences
In his address to the press, Mike Pompeo said that both of them differed in the stance on the current trade relations between the two countries. But he added that the difference is in the “spirit of friendship.” He said that he was hopeful to resolve the current US-India trade bottleneck and any other economic dispute in the future. Pompeo added, “When 1.7 billion people of world’s two largest economies come together we can do great things.”
There are trade differences between India and the US, as both countries are involved in trade with others. Pompeo said, “We address trade differences between trade in good spirit. “
S Jaishankar said, “If you trade with somebody and particularly if they’re your biggest trading partners, it is impossible that you do not have trade issues. The sign of a mature relationship is your ability to negotiate the way through that relationship. Perhaps, it has not been as effective as it could and should have been in the recent past. We both are leaving this meeting convinced that we will tell our countries that they need to try harder. We will do what is in our national interest.”
When asked about the US government’s decision to withdraw trade benefits to India under the Generalised System of Preferences, Pompeo said that the issue did not come up. However, He said, “We are going to do our best to make sure all the right people get into the right places and work through these problems and get on with the business of growing each of our two economies.”
Had a very frank and open discussion on US-Iran tensions: Jaishankar
On the rising tensions between US-Iran, S Jaishankar said, “We discussed the situation in the Gulf, I shared our interests and concerns with Secretary Pompeo, energy security is part of it but there are other concerns as well about diaspora, regional security and trade.”
While saying “Iran is the world’s largest sponsor of terror”, Pompeo added that India has suffered from terrorism in the past and understood the effects of terror.
India and Iran’s joint project, Chabahar, did not come up in the talks.
Jaishankar appreciated US’ strong support against terrorism
Jaishankar expressed appreciation for the US for its support against terrorism. He said, “On terrorism, I took the opportunity to express our appreciation for the strong support that we have received from the Trump administration, what we say is really zero tolerance for cross border terrorism.”
Pompeo says India is an important friend, Jaishankar confident of addressing any issue
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, “US-India partnership is already beginning to reach new heights, we have bolstered our defence cooperation, we have solidified our common vision for free and open Indo-Pacific. We have grown cooperation in energy, space and other areas.”
He added, “India is an important friend and partner for America. We’re looking at the issues at the moment. We will find a way to work through them. We can see each other not just as bilateral partners, but something much bigger than that so that we can help each other all around the world.”
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.
Earlier today, Pompeo met Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
After visiting Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Afghanistan on a trip aimed at building a global coalition to counter Iran, Pompeo arrived in New Delhi late Tuesday.
The visit also comes just a few days ahead of the scheduled meeting between President Donald Trump and PM Modi on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in Japan.