Tensions, Many Exacerbated by Trump, Overshadow High-Level U.S. Talks in India

US secretary of defence James Mattis and US secretary of state Mike Pompeo with foreign minister Sushma Swaraj and defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman in New Delhi on Thursday

He said that Washington did not aim to "penalise great strategic partners like India".

On the issue of India's oil imports from Iran, Pompeo said, "We have told the Indians consistently, as we have told every nation, that on 4 November the sanctions with respect to Iranian crude oil will be enforced". The exercise will involve sea, land, and air forces. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says, "I am delighted to be making my first trip to India as Secretary of State, sixteen weeks into my time".

Early Thursday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis participated in a bilateral meeting with their Indian counterparts in New Dehli.

The major takeaways of the inaugural 2+2 dialogue between the two nations were the signing of the long-pending Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) and setting up of a hotline between External Affairs Minister and Defence Minister with their American counterparts.

What are the benefits of signing COMCASA?

"We see the Indo-Pacific as a free, open and inclusive concept, with ASEAN centrality at the core and defined by a common rules-based order that both our countries are pursuing", the minister said, adding India welcomed the US' interest in expanding its economic footprint in the region as they "complement our own efforts". Till recently India was designated as STA-2 countries, along with seven others.

India also plans to buy the Russian-made S-400 air defense missile system, putting it at odds with USA systems.

Pompeo told reporters after the meeting that no resolution had been made on the issue.

India is also seeking to avoid United States sanctions on those who do business with Russia's military and intelligence sectors.

In his remarks, Pompeo said both sides should continue to ensure freedom of the seas and work towards peaceful resolutions of maritime disputes.

Pompeo said the USA values its relationship with India, and noted "we fully support India's rise". It already has sold US Apache attack helicopters and other gear, and is negotiating to sell armed drones to India.

The pact "will facilitate access to advanced defence systems and enable India to optimally utilize its existing US-origin platforms", according to a joint statement.

Pompeo denied he had anything to do with the letter.

"... We do understand the history of India's relationship with Russian Federation and legacy systems", he said. The momentum ... has imbued a tremendous positive energy that has elevated India-US relations to unprecedented heights ...

The U.S. and India, he said, already have the foundation in their commitment to "a safe, secure prosperous and free Indo-Pacific region where sovereignty of all nations is respected, worldwide norms are upheld, disputes are resolved peacefully and nations freely transit global waters and airspace".

In his remarks during the 2+2 summit, Pompeo said the United States looked forward to "finalising the Westinghouse nuclear project that will provide clean and reliable power to millions of Indians".

The foreign minister said the agreement would also speed up India's entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group, an organization of nuclear supplier countries that seeks to prevent nuclear proliferation by controlling the export of materials.

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