US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on said Thursday the 2+2 talks with India would focus on jointly tackling terrorism and enhancing trade, energy and economic cooperation between the two strategic partners.
“Meeting today with my Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj for a robust discussion of topics at forefront of US-India relationship: from trade to energy and economic cooperation to terrorism,” Pompeo tweeted.
Pompeo and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis are in New Delhi for the inaugural high-level 2+2 dialogue, which was twice postponed by the Donald Trump administration citing scheduling conflicts.
The two US officials will hold talks with Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
The four will call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the afternoon. Twelve officials from each side are expected to attend the talks, followed by a working lunch.
The agenda for the talks is likely to include key issues like maritime security and countering China’s military expansion in the Indian Ocean.
Prominently to figure in talks between the four will be Washington’s key demands for India to stop buying Iranian oil and Russian weapons.
The US Congress has passed a law allowing sanctions on countries that buy “significant” amounts of defence equipment from Russia. But India is seeking a waiver from those sanctions.
The US also wants all countries to stop buying Iranian oil by November 5.
However, it appears impossible for India which has no oil and natural gas of its own and hugely depends on Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Iran for its enormous energy needs to maintain the momentum of its growing economy. India is Iran’s No. 2 oil buyer, after China.