India on Wednesday told the United States that it will go by its national interest on S-400 missile deal with sanctions-hit Russia, even as New Delhi and Washington vowed to work their way through it as also other prickly issues, including those related to trade, to take the bilateral ties to new levels.
India's strong stance on the S-400 deal was conveyed by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to his American counterpart Mike Pompeo during their wide-ranging meeting, the first high-level interaction between the two countries after return of the Modi government to power last month.
The two leaders held talks in one-on-one and delegation-level formats followed by working lunch and resolved to deepen Indo-US cooperation in combating terrorism, including by strengthening intelligence-sharing.
Later at a joint press interaction, Pompeo and Jaishankar admitted to have divergent views on trade, but asserted that friends and large trading partners will have "issues" which can be resolved.
Jaishankar and Pompeo also discussed the issue of energy security in the wake of the situation arising out of US sanctions on buying oil from Iran and the US-Iran tensions in the Gulf.
"We have a certain perspective on Iran. The Secretary shared with me the American concerns on Iran...For us it is important that global energy supplies remain predictable. I think that is a concern that Secretary Pompeo was very very receptive," Jaishankar said.
On his part, Pompeo articulated American concerns over state-sponsored terrorism by Iran, saying, "we also know that Iran is the world's largest state sponsor of terror and we know the Indian people how they have suffered from terror around the world." Pompeo also said,"I think there is a shared understanding of threat and a common purpose that we keep energy at the right prices and deter this threat.
US wants fair and reciprocal trade
The Trump administration wants Modi to lower the trade barriers and embrace "fair and reciprocal" trade, the US said Tuesday as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reached New Delhi for crucial talks with the new government.
Bilateral trade is likely to be an important topic of discussion during Pompeo's key talks with the new Indian leadership and ahead of this week's meeting between Prime Minister Modi and President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan.
"There is enormous potential to grow our trade relationship and create the high-quality jobs that Prime Minister Modi wants if India lowers trade barriers and embraces fair and reciprocal trade," according to a State Department Fact Sheet released on Tuesday.