Foreign friend

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi Wednesday and discussed various aspects of the bilateral relationship to strengthen the India-US strategic partnership. ‘Working together to further deepen our strategic partnership. Secretary Pompeo called on PM Narendra Modi to exchange views on various aspects of Indo-US relationship. PM will meet President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the upcoming G20 Osaka Summit,’ Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted along with pictures of the meeting.

Pompeo’s talks here are the first high-level interaction between the two countries after the return of the Modi government to power last month. Pompeo’s visit comes ahead of a meeting between Trump and Modi on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan, later this week. Ties between the two countries have warmed considerably in the past two decades with both seeing eye-to-eye on issues such as terrorism, the rise of China, defence cooperation, and the need for a ‘free and open Indo-Pacific region’.

These days, India and US are engaged in regular military exercises and also aim to sign an industrial security agreement allowing the transfer of defence technology to India. However, the US slapping tariffs on Indian exports, objections to India capping prices of medical devices made by US firms, greater market access to American companies, and concerns over Indian demands that data generated locally be stored within the country have cast a shadow over ties. Pompeo, who Wednesday met captains of Indian industry, including Uday Kotak, Ratan Tata and Anand Mahindra, said he shared thoughts on US-India relations with the business leaders. ‘The US is India’s best trading partner and top market for exports. There is enormous potential to grow our trade relationship and stimulate jobs in both countries,’ he tweeted after the meetings in the national capital. Now, all eyes are on the meeting between Modi and Trump, during which differences, if any, are likely to be buried and a new chapter in Indo-US relationship is expected to blossom.

NT Bureau