The Hindustan Times – Modi recalls peace overture to Islamabad in meeting with Pompeo and Mattis

India and the US signed a foundational defence partnership agreement during the dialogue and also agreed on several other measures to boost defence ties

Shishir Gupta

New Delhi – India, 06 September 2018. Prime Minister Narendra Modi recalled his December 2015 peace overture to Islamabad before dignitaries including Secretary of Defence James Mattis, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and General Joseph Dunford, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff who called on him for 45 minutes.

The US delegation was in India for the two-plus-two dialogue between Mattis and Pompeo and their Indian counterparts, defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman and foreign minister Sushma Swaraj, and met the Prime Minister for around 45-minutes.

Pompeo conveyed to India that Pakistan has been told to take action against pan-Islamic terrorist group and not just talk; Pompeo spent a few hours in Pakistan before arriving in India on Wednesday and had a get-tough-on-terror message for the country’s new Prime Minister Imran Khan.

India and the US signed a foundational defence partnership agreement during the dialogue and also agreed on several other measures to boost defence ties. Prime Minister Modi is believed to have personally reviewed several aspects of the dialogue with all principals on the eve of the talks.

Hindustan Times learns that contrary to what was expected, the issue of a possible visit by US President Donald Trump to India early next year was not taken up during the meeting but that PM Modi asked the visiting dignitaries to convey his greetings to their President.

He fondly recalled his interactions with President Trump and told the US delegation that both Swaraj and Sitharaman were very happy with the outcome of the visit.

The visiting team did not raise the issue of the waiver to the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CATSAA) that would facilitate India’s plan to purchase S-400 missile systems from Russia.

Only macro issues were discussed, a senior South Block official said on condition of anonymity. “There is a CATSAA waiver by President Trump. We will discuss the issue when the acquisition is finalized,” said a senior South Block official.

The Indian side however, briefed the team on its legacy relationship with Iran for oil purchases and the effort being made to reduce the imports. The Indian side also explained the importance of Chahbahar port in stabilizing Afghanistan.

Both Pompeo and Mattis said that US will work with India on how to sort out the two issues with Iran, both of which could see India fall afoul of US sanctions against the West Asian nation.

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