United States and India reiterated their commitment to counter terrorism and to pressure Pakistan to do away with safe havens for terrorists, at a bilateral meeting between Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale March 11 in Washington, D.C. Gokhale is here on a three-day visit as part of the bilateral “Foreign Office Consultation and Strategic Security Dialogue,” India’s Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.
“Secretary Pompeo affirmed that the United States stands with the people and government of India in the fight against terrorism,” the U.S. State Department Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino said in a statement released to the media.
The two top officials discussed the importance of bringing those responsible for the suicide bomb attack in Pulwana, Jammu & Kashmir, to justice. That attack on Feb. 14, killed 40 paramilitary personnel of India’s Central Reserve Police Force.
They also discussed “the urgency of Pakistan taking meaningful action against terrorist groups operating on its soil,” Palladino said.
They noted the strength of the partnership between the U.S. and India, and discussed ways to further enhance cooperation, including on counterterrorism. “They also discussed our complementary visions for the Indo-Pacific, U.S.-India defense cooperation, and the growing U.S.-India economic partnership, including joint efforts to expand bilateral trade in a balanced and reciprocal manner,” Palladino said.
In response to Secretary Pompeo’s reference to bilateral trade matters, Foreign Secretary Gokhale, “underscored the significant reduction in trade deficit in the last three years and conveyed India’s willingness to remain engaged with the U.S. for a meaningful and mutually acceptable package on trade issues,” a press release from the Indian Embassy said.
Pompeo and Gokhale “expressed 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, the Indian press release said.
During the bilateral, Foreign Secretary Gokhale conveyed appreciation to the U.S. Government and to Secretary Pompeo personally, for the “firm support” that India received from the U.S in the aftermath of the terrorist attack in Pulwama, and informed Secretary Pompeo about recent developments in this regard.
During his visit, Secretary Gokhale was scheduled to meet with Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale and Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Andrea Thompson. “These are regular high-level dialogue mechanisms to review bilateral relations, exchange views on major foreign policy and security-related developments and coordinate respective positions on issues of common interest,” the Indian spokesperson for India’s Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement. During his visit, Gokhale is also likely to meet with senior leaders in the U. S. administration and U. S. Congress, the MEA statement said.