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US secretary of state Mike Pompeo arrives in India on three-day visit

File photo: US secretary of state Mike Pompeo. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Jun 25, 2019, 10.10 PM (IST) Written By: Karan Singh , Sidhant Sibal

In the first high profile visit from US in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's second term, US secretary of state Mike Pompeo arrived in Delhi on a three-day visit. 

The visit comes days ahead of PM Modi's meeting with US President Trump in Osaka, Japan on the sidelines of 14th G20 summit and the second JAI trilateral - Japan, America and India.

The first JAI trilateral had taken place between Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, US Present Trump & PM Modi in Buenos Aires in Argentina in December 2018.

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On Wednesday, Pompeo will be meeting PM Modi at 10am followed by external affairs minister S Jaishankar at 12 noon which would be followed by press statements. The US secretary of state will also be making an "India policy speech" on Wednesday evening.

Calling the visit an important one, S Jaishankar speaking in Gandhinagar said, "we have a very positive approach for the meeting."

On the ongoing crisis in the Gulf due to US-Iran tensions, Jaishankar said, "we have a relationship with Iran we have a relationship with US....we will be guided by our national interest and that will be the yardstick of judgement."

India is concerned by the situation in the Gulf, especially with a large diaspora in the West Asian region. The Indian government says it has a strong and legitimate interest in maintaining stability and peace in the region and believes both Washington and Tehran should de-escalate and refrain from any action that can destabilise the region.

India will be discussing the import of Iran oil with Washington. The US had waived import of Iranian oil after its sanctions for all countries had been terminated by Washington. 

On the geopolitical situation in the region, terror and Indo-Pacific will be the focus areas during Pompeo's visit. Trade remains an issue of contention with US President Trump calling India a "Tariff King". 

Along with trade, H-1B visa, data localisation or use and storage of data of Indian citizens, S-400 missile defence deal with Russia remain other contentious issues.

On the S-400 deal, India has made it clear to the US that it has a long-standing defence relationship with Moscow which can't "be wished away" and that the deal has been in discussion with Russia for a decade. 

New Delhi believes the Trump administration has enough flexibility to give a waiver under the American CAATSA law which imposes sanction on countries engaging in defence ties with Russia.

Also with China-backed Huawei, which is feeling Washington's heat, New Delhi will be looking at its own security requirements and will take its own call but before that will hear concerns of other countries as well.

This is the second visit of Pompeo to India. He was in India last year for the maiden 2+2 dialogue between defence and foreign ministers of US and India.