New Delhi, Jun 26: Amid trade barriers issues and admittance of differences on defence ties between India and Russia or oil import from Iran, the US Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo on Wednesday described India and the US as “friends who can help each other".
The visiting US Secretary of State Pompeo laying the ground for a smooth bilateral engagement between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the US President Donald Trump later this week, sought to reduce trade tension with New Delhi.
On the vexed issues of 'trade disputes and S-400 Triumf procurement programme of India from Russia,' Mr Pompeo went onto say: "I see the two issues as real opportunities, I know that we can work together and provide a foundation for the relationship".
"We have endeavoured to make sure that our countries can provide security for itself..... we also want India to be able to do that too," Mr Pompeo remarked at a joint news conference with External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar.
The two countries are “friends who can help each other all around the world,” Mr Pompeo said also adding that the current differences were expressed “in the spirit of friendship”.
For his part, Dr Jaishankar said commenting on trade related issues said: "If you trade with someone and they are your biggest trading partner, it is impossible you do not have trade issues".
To a question whether India's position on international affairs especially in the context of defence ties with Russia and India's own defence preparedness is well understood by the policy makers in Washington, EAM Jaishankar said: "This (New Delhi meet on June 26) is a start" and there can be always room for more works.
Mr Pompeo also said - "India's position is well understood in Washington....there is a deep keen appreciation" and more so in the context of a large Indian American population who helps American policy makers to understand how new India is evolving.
Dr Jaishankar said - "India and the US have a strategic partnership....The partnership is as broad as it is deep. Convergence of views on bilateral and regional interests has been growing steadily in the past few years".
Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi outlined his 'vision' for the Strategic Partnership in the new tenure of the Indian Government under him 'and beyond' and clearly emphasised that this will be built on strong foundation of 'trust and shared interest'.
Mr Pompeo had met Prime Minister in the morning hours kicking off his crucial diplomatic engagements.
According to observers, while ground has been laid Modi-Trump talks on the sidelines of G20 Summit on June 28, the final solution would be perhaps announced at the end of PM Modi and President Trump's parleys at Osaka in Japan.
Indian officials on Tuesday itself indicated that no breakthrough could be expected from Pompeo-Jaishankar meet.
When it comes to dealing with countries such as the United States, India should 'look beyond MoUs and pacts', a diplomatic source has said here on the eve of Secretary of State's visit to India.
"We should look beyond MoUs. The maximum benefits we can get out of this talk is what goes inside the hall and not what happens outside," a diplomatic source said here.
But there were certain differences too. The visiting US Secretary of State described Iran as 'world's largest state sponsor of terror' and told India that there is a need to fight the menace and keep energy at 'right prices'.
"We all know that Iran is the world's largest state sponsor of terror and Indian people have suffered from terror around the world," Mr Pompeo said.
"We have a shared understanding of threat (of terror) and a common purpose to ensure that we can keep energy at right prices and deter this threat," he said in presence of Indian External Affairs Minister.
However, Dr Jaishankar said with regard energy requirements "there is common ground" between the two sides.
As regard oil import from Iran and purchase of S-400 defence system from Russia, Indian minister suggested that New Delhi will go by national interests.
“We have many relationships...they have a history. We will do what is in our national interest and part of that strategic partnership is the ability of each country to comprehend and appreciate the national interest of the other,” Dr Jaishankar said. (UNI)