India-US 2+2 dialogue postponed following Pompeo’s mission; Iran oil imports

India and US ties appeared to have entered a phase of uncertainty on Wednesday following Washington’s decision to postpone 2+2 dialogue scheduled for July 6 after Delhi reportedly refused to toe the Trump administration’s line on cutting down on all oil supplies from the Persian Gulf country.

This was the second time that the USA has postponed the maiden 2+2 dialogue with India first being the exit of Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State earlier this year and subsequent Senate confirmation of his successor Mike Pompeo.

The India-US ‘2+2 dialogue’ was to be held on July 6, and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman were to travel to the US to take part in the meeting.

Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke to Sushma Swaraj “to express his regret and deep disappointment at the US having to postpone the 2+2 Dialogue for unavoidable reasons”.

According to him, Pompeo sought Sushma Swaraj’s understanding “and they agreed to identify new mutually convenient dates to hold the Dialogue at the earliest, in India or the US”.

This new dialogue format was agreed to between the two sides during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Washington in June last year when he met US President Donald Trump for the first time.

Persons familiar with the issue indicated to ET that Pompeo is traveling for some key mission around the same time when 2+2 dialogue was scheduled. There are reports that Presidents of USA and Russia might meet on July 10 and top interlocutors of USA might be engaged with that process.

While Pompeo is scheduled to travel for key mission leading to the postponement of dialogue, policy circles in Delhi viewed the decision by the US as a sign of slide in Indo-US partnership. The bilateral ties have been under stress this year for a number of reasons.

It is understood that India is unwilling to accept US diktat on stopping all oil imports from Iran from November 4. India faced the prospect of sanctions if it continues oil supplies after the November deadline. Iran, a regional power,

Indo-US ties are also being tested over defense supplies from Russia including S-400 missile defense system and impending sanctions if India went ahead with the purchase. Modi had assured Russian President Vladimir Putin at Sochi informal Summit that India will uphold a commitment to purchase weapons including S-400 from Russia.

Trade protectionism of Trump administration has forced India to impose retaliatory measures.

ET

Mukhi

The Kootneeti Team - Indian Diplomacy

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Kootneeti Team

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