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Mike Pompeo met Prime Minister Narendra Modi

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi this morning. He will also hold talks with Foreign Minister S Jaishankar this afternoon. Terrorism, H-1B visas, trade, India’s arms deal with Russia and the situation arising out of the US sanctions on buying oil from Iran, will be among the key issues that the two leaders will discuss. Mr Pompeo’s visit is the first high-level visit from any country after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s stunning victory in the national election. “Working together to further deepen our strategic partnership…,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted along with pictures of the meeting with PM Modi. The visit comes ahead of a meeting between US President Donald Trump and PM Modi on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in Japan’s Osaka this week.

Hours after Mr Pompeo landed in New Delhi last night, the US said it wants PM Modi to lower trade barriers and embrace fair and reciprocal trade. “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,” a US State Department factsheet said.

Foreign Minister S Jaishankar, who will host a working lunch for Mr Pompeo this afternoon, said India will try to find common ground on trade issues during their discussions. “We will be meeting with a positive attitude…The meeting with Mike Pompeo will be an important one. We will definitely discuss issues related to trade between the two countries,” Mr Jaishankar said. He said that since both the countries have their own interests, “it is natural to have some conflicts because of that”. “We will find a common ground using diplomacy,” he added

Diplomatic sources in India say all issues are on the table, and there is no structured agenda for the discussions between Mr Jaishankar and Mr Pompeo.On US opposition to India’s $5 billion deal for acquiring S-400 missile system from Russia, sources said despite the threat of US sanctions, New Delhi will point out that the US has a law that offers a way out. India’s stance will be made clear to Mr Pompeo during his visit.

The US wants India to cancel the purchase of the missiles, citing a law that imposes sanctions on any country that has “significant transactions” with Iran, North Korea or Russia.

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