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India, US to look for ways to work through S-400 defence deal issue: Pompeo


India and the United States would look for ways to sort out issues pertaining to trade and the S400 missile deal between New Delhi and Moscow, said US Secretary of States Michael Pompeo on Wednesday.
"When I think about the two issues (trade and S400), I think of them as real opportunities; things that I know we can work together and will provide a foundation for a relationship (between the two countries)," he said at a joint press conference with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar after talks between them.
Calling India an important friend and partner to the US, Pompeo expressed hope that the relationship between the two countries would have developed into something much stronger after they had worked out the two issues.
"India is an important friend and partner for the United States. American is an important beneficiary of the success that India has and continues to emanate. When we come out on the other side, our relationship will be stronger and we will have done great things together."
New Delhi had signed a USD 5.43 billion deal with Russia for the purchase of five S-400s during the 19th India-Russia Annual Bilateral Summit in New Delhi on October 5, last year, which Washington has indicated that theRussian S-400 systems may trigger Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) sanctions.
Washington has previously sanctioned China's Equipment Development Department (EDD) for purchasing Russian Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets and the same S-400 missiles that India is purchasing, triggering a diplomatic confrontation between China and the US.
During the press conference, Pompeo also spoke on the simmering tensions between Iran and the US in recent weeks following the attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman and Tehran's downing of US drone.
"We all know that Iran is the world's largest state sponsor of terror and Indian people have suffered from terror around the world. We have a shared understanding of the threat and a common purpose to ensure that we can keep the energy at the right prices and deter this threat," said Pompeo
It remains unclear whether the issue pertaining to the US decision to not extend sanction waivers on Iran oil imports emerged during the talks between Pompeo and Jaishankar earlier in the day as there was no mention of it in the press conference.
Following fresh US sanctions, Indian oil companies are also facing a tough time and many have reportedly stopped importing oil from Iran.
The two Minister discussed a range of other issues during their talks, including terrorism and the Asia Pacific.
"We discussed a number of bilateral and global issues, on terrorism, I took the opportunity to express our appreciation for the strong support that we have received from the Trump administration, what we say is really zero tolerance for cross border terrorism," Jaishankar said.
In a veiled reference to China on Indo-Pacific issues, the Indian minister said that India is not working against any country but looking for peace, security, stability, and prosperity. "Indo-Pacific is not against something but for somebody. That something is peace, security, stability, and prosperity we are really looking."
Pompeo also reiterated that India and the US have solidified their common vision for free and open Indo-Pacific. We have grown cooperation in energy, space, and other areas."
The meeting between Jaishankar and Pompeo, the first high-level engagement between India and the US after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's reelection, was also to the stage for the meeting between Modi and US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of G-20 Summit in Osaka later this week.

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First Published: Jun 26 2019 | 5:37 PM IST

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