New Delhi: Talks between visiting US secretary of state Michael Pompeo and external affairs minister S. Jaishankar focused on the entire gamut of bilateral ties, including the terror issue, the S-400 India-Russia missile deal, trade disputes, Iran and Afghanistan, with both sides hailing their “great relationship” and the “big picture” despite the sharp differences on some issues.
New Delhi also made it clear that it was “key” that there has to be “trust and understanding” in each other if India-US defence ties are to grow even. While India appreciated the strong support it had got from the US government in the “zero tolerance on cross-border terrorism”, clear differences also emerged on the origin of that terror.
As Mr Pompeo pushed for greater market access to India in the context of rising trade disputes with New Delhi and said the economic aspect of ties must be set “right”, Mr Jaishankar urged the US to adopt a “constructive and pragmatic view”.
New Delhi has not officially announced the stopping of Iranian oil imports but it has been known that it is cutting them to zero due to the threat of US sanctions.
Mr Pompeo said that “China has sought dominance in the South China Sea” even as he praised cooperation between India, the US, Japan and the Philippines in the South China Sea. Sounding a cautious note, perhaps in view of the improving Sino-Indian ties, Mr Jaishankar said in the presence of Mr Pompeo that their cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region was “for peace, stability, security, prosperity.”...