Washington, DC – Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale met top US diplomats and lawmakers here on Monday (March 11) to cement bilateral ties and refresh cooperation in other areas of mutual interest.
Announcing the bilateral meeting, the State Department’s Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino said, “Secretary Pompeo affirmed that the United States stands with the people and government of India in the fight against terrorism.
In the light of recent terrorist attack in Pulwama, in the State of Jammu and Kashmir, and the heightened tensions between two nuclear armed neighbors, Palladino’s statement stressed that the two top diplomats, “discussed the importance of bringing those responsible for the attack to justice and the urgency of Pakistan taking meaningful action against terrorist groups operating on its soil. They noted the strength of our partnership and discussed ways to further enhance cooperation, including on counterterrorism.”
On other subjects, Secretary Pompeo and the visiting Indian diplomat “also discussed our complementary visions for the Indo-Pacific, US-India defense cooperation, and the growing US-India economic partnership, including joint efforts to expand bilateral trade in a balanced and reciprocal manner.”
From the Indian side, Shambhu Hakki, First Secretary (Press, Information & Culture) at the Embassy of India here, cited the two diplomats as expressing “satisfaction over the significant progress and the quality of the India-US Strategic Partnership since Secretary Pompeo’s visit to India in September 2018 for the first ever Ministerial 2+2 Dialogue.”
“Foreign Secretary conveyed appreciation to the US Government and to Secretary Pompeo personally for the firm support that India received from the US in the aftermath of the terrorist attack in Pulwama, in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. He apprised Secretary Pompeo about recent developments in this regard,” read the statement from Hakki.
According to Hakki’s readout, “Secretary Pompeo expressed his understanding of India’s concerns regarding cross-border terrorism.” They agreed that Pakistan needs to take concerted action to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure and to deny safe haven to all terrorist groups in its territory. They also agreed that those who support or abet terrorism in any form should be held accountable.
Foreign Secretary and Secretary Pompeo also discussed other issues of mutual interest including Afghanistan and cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, and agreed to closely work together in this regard.
In response to Secretary Pompeo’s reference to bilateral trade matters, Foreign Secretary underscored the significant reduction in trade deficit in the last three years and conveyed India’s willingness to remain engaged with the US for a meaningful and mutually acceptable package on trade issues.
Indian Foreign Secretary Gokhale met a section of US lawmakers from across the country. Meeting Congressmen Democrat Brad Sherman from California, Republican Ted Yoho from Florida, Republican Mac Thornberry from Texas and Democrat Thomas Richard Suozzi (Tom Suozzi) from New York, Gokhale discussed the latest developments in strengthening India-US ties.