New Delhi, May 29 : US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will have "a very robust discussion" on a number of issues during a visit likely here next month, ahead of a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump during the June 28-29 G20 summit in Osaka, Japan.
"I think that Secretary Pompeo will have a very robust discussion on a range of issues," State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said when asked what is expected between the US and India during the second term of Prime Minister Modi and whether anything new coming up at a news briefing in Washington on Tuesday.
There are several issues such as US tariffs over goods and demand for greater market access, threat of sanction over Indian purchase of Russian military hardware and oil imports from Iran continue to bedevil relations of late between the two strategic partners.
Ortagus described India a "great ally" and "partner" and said the US will "work closely" with Modi, who won a huge mandate in the just concluded parliamentary election."So we, of course, will work closely with Modi, as we have many times," she said, according to the transcript of the news conference.
Pompeo is reported to be in the Indian capital to lay the groundwork for Modi-Trump meeting, the first in two years, on the sidelines of the G20 summit.Trump had earlier congratulated Modi on his electoral victory, saying "great things are in store for the US-India partnership with the return of PM Modi at the helm."Ortagus called the Indian elections "incredibly impressive" and said, "We’re confident in the fairness and integrity of the elections."
On a question whether India and Iran are negotiating to bypass the US sanctions and start the oil trade, Ortagus said, "No, except I would just say that the Secretary has been very clear since April 22nd that we are going to zero. "We have stated that there are no new exemptions after May 2nd as it relates to importing Iranian oil. The US position there remains quite firm." UNI