US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in New Delhi Tuesday ahead of a planned meeting with Foreign Minister S Jaishankar scheduled for Wednesday. This meeting comes in the backdrop of growing strain in the economic relations between the two countries.
Earlier in the day, Jaishankar said that India will meet the US Secretary of State “with a positive attitude” to find “common ground” to resolve trade issues. “Trade issues will be discussed. We will try to find common ground,” he was quoted as saying by PTI.
He added, “We will be meeting with a positive attitude.”
Also, this will be Pompeo’s first visit after the Narendra Modi-led government was re-elected a month ago, and also days before the Prime Minister and US President Donald Trump are likely to meet on the sidelines of the G-20 summit.
Jaishankar, who is perceived to understand the US better than anyone in the government, is expected to convey Delhi’s position on a host of issues, but more than anything else – he is likely to establish a working rapport so that differences can be ironed out between the two countries.
According to sources, the meeting is being looked at as a “getting to know each other” kind of a meeting, as it is their first meeting in Jaishankar’s new role. But, the significance of the meeting is not lost on anyone – it will take place days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of G-20 summit in Osaka on June 28-29.
Sources had earlier said that Jaishankar and Pompeo will not be looking at “resolving issues”, but at achieving a common understanding on how to proceed ahead so that they can manage their differences and build on their convergences.
Pompeo is also likely to call on Modi at his residence during his stay here, and the visiting US Secretary of State will also make a policy speech on Wednesday evening. The US Secretary of State was quite candid in his speech in Washington DC on June 12, when he had said that he will discuss the recent decision on the GSP programme.
India this month imposed higher tariffs on 28 US products including almonds, apples and walnuts, following the US withdrawal of trade privileges for India. Last year, India had announced tariffs in retaliation to higher U.S. import duties on steel and aluminium.