Pompeo meets PM Modi: Terrorism, H1B visa, Russia deal on agenda ahead of G20 Summit
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in India on Tuesday evening and met separate PM Narendra Modi. While US has continued to assert that the visit will further strengthen India's ties with the US, several contentious topics such as India's missile deal with Russia and H-1B visas will be up for discussion.
India's purchase of S-400 missile defence systems from Russia, terrorism, H1B visas, trade and the situation arising out of US sanctions on buying oil from Iran likely to be on the table, along with a host of other issues will be key issues that will be discussed on Wednesday.
National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval will also be holding talks with Pompeo on issues of terrorism and national security while foreign minister S Jaishankar will host lunch for Pompeo and discuss key issues.
The crucial visit ahead of next week's G20 summit, where US President Donald Trump and PM Modi will be meeting each other, will set the tone for upcoming event.
Resuming engagement with a valuable strategic partner after elections@SecPompeo arrives in India on a 2-day visit. He will call on PM @narendramodi and meet EAM @DrSJaishankar to exchange views on a range of bilateral and regional issues of mutual interest. pic.twitter.com/EkXh12TrPXRaveesh Kumar (@MEAIndia) June 25, 2019
Here are some of the key points of focus during Pompeo's visit:
1. Russia deal: India's purchase of S-400 missile systems from Russia, which has been slapped with sanctions by the US, has been a bone of contention between the two countries. The matter will be brought up in the meetings between Jaishankar and Pompeo. India has maintained that it meets with all the waiver criteria set by the US in dealing with Russia.
2. H-1B visas: Ahead of his visit, US had said that Pompeo will assure India that the country is not imposing further caps on the popular H-1B visas that are used by Indians. A US official had said, "Secretary will be able to assure the Indian leadership that we have no plans to place caps on H-1B work visas for nations that are having foreign companies store data locally.
3. Terrorism: While US has repeatedly condemned Pakistan for not acting against terrorism breeding on its soil, the issue will again be back in focus on Wednesday and India is likely to bring up how Pakistan has failed to comply with the FATF norms on terror financing. Pakistan has been grey listed by the global terror watchdog for failing to control terror activities.
4. Iran sanctions: India has deep strategic relations with both the US and Iran, two countries that have been at loggerheads in the past few weeks. US was almost on the verge of ordering airstrikes on Iran. On the issue of the situation arising out of the ending of exemptions from US sanctions to buy oil from Iran, diplomatic sources said a decision will be taken based on India's energy security and commercial considerations.
5. Trade: The Trump administration wants Prime Minister Narendra Modi to lower trade barriers and embrace fair and reciprocal trade, the United States said on Tuesday. Bilateral trade is likely to be an important topic of discussion during Pompeo's talks with the Indian leadership. US companies see great opportunity in India, and increased economic openness and investment will yield mutual benefit.
Pompeo's visit marks the third visit to India by a Secretary of State during the Trump Administration.
After his India visit from June 25-27, Pompeo will travel to Japan to attend the G-20 Summit with Trump.
Modi would also be attending the summit of leaders from top 20 economies of the world. The two leaders are scheduled to meet on the sidelines of the summit.