New Delhi, Jun 26: As Secretary of State Mike Pompeo begins his India visit days ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's bilateral engagement with the US President Donald Trump, Washington has strongly favoured New Delhi lowering the trade barriers and "embrace fair and reciprocal trade".
"The Trump administration is working to ensure that American companies operating in India have the same level playing field that Indian companies enjoy in the United States. There is enormous potential to grow our trade relationship and create the high-quality jobs that Prime Minister Modi wants if India lowers trade barriers and embraces fair and reciprocal trade," an US government statement said here.
The statement seeks to show that the mood of the American side before parleys with Prime Minister Modi and External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar is extremely positive and also tries to negate the atmosphere of disputes as being generally perceived especially in trade and over India's arms deal with Russia.
The statement says - "the bond between the US and India is unbreakable" and goes on to add: "As the world’s oldest and largest democracies, the United States and India share deep respect for one another’s values and traditions. Our people and cultures are profoundly intertwined".
It also said that the Indian diaspora in the United States is nearly four million strong. "Indian-Americans are thriving in the United States and helping to make our communities more secure and prosperous through their leadership in industry, academia, and government."
It also said that economic partnership has enormous potential for growth and that the US companies see "great opportunity" in India, and increased economic openness and investment will yield mutual benefit. "The United States is India’s most important trading partner. As India’s number one overseas market, the United States purchases close to one-fifth of India’s exports. India is also the fastest growing major market for U.S. goods. Two-way bilateral goods and services trade with India totaled $142 billion in 2018, up 12.6 percent, or almost $16 billion, over the prior year".
It also said that the US crude oil exports to India are surging, increasing India’s energy security while reducing the bilateral trade deficit. The United States exported nearly 50 million barrels of crude to India in 2018, compared to less than 10 million barrels in 2017, and is on pace to export even greater volumes in 2019.
Moreover the US defense sales to India are estimated to reach approximately $18 billion by 2019 from near zero in 2008, boosting India’s national security capabilities and increasing employment in both countries. The statement said President Trump and Prime Minister Modi are firmly committed to accelerating the "upward trajectory of this partnership". "Prime Minister Modi’s sweeping mandate in the recent elections creates a unique opportunity to realize this vision," it said.
The United States and India are moving quickly to achieve the shared vision for a free, open, and rules-based Indo-Pacific region by expanding cooperation in areas such as energy, aviation, and space, the statement said.Mr Pompeo, who arrived here on Tuesday night, would kick start his diplomatic engagement with a call on to Prime Minister Modi at around 1000 hours on Wednesday.
This will be followed by a meeting between him and EAM Dr Jaishankar. "We are looking at this visit as an useful input," a diplomatic source said here. "This is a visit about two ministers Mr Pompeo and Indian External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar getting to know each other. Because we will have many things to do at later stage". "The maximum benefits we can get out of this talk is what goes inside the hall and not what happens outside in terms of agreements," the source said. UNI