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Pompeo expresses 'regret' to Swaraj after US postpones '2+2 dialogue'

June 28, 2018 09:38

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her American counterpart Mike Pompeo have agreed to reschedule the postponed '2+2 dialogue' at a mutually convenient time and location as soon as possible, a state department spokesperson said today.
Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman were earlier scheduled to travel to the United States to take part in the meeting with Pompeo and Secretary of Defence James Mattis on July 6.
But yesterday, Pompeo spoke over the phone with Swaraj to express his "regret and deep disappointment" at the US having to postpone the dialogue for "unavoidable reasons". 
During the phone call, Pompeo discussed further strengthening the US-India cooperation, the spokesperson said, asserting that India is "a major priority" for the Trump administration.  
"The secretary and minister Swaraj agreed the 2+2 dialogue would be rescheduled as soon as possible at a mutually convenient time and location," the spokesperson told PTI.
The spokesperson asserted that the US-India relationship is "a major priority" for the Trump administration and it looks forward to continuing to "strengthen" the partnership, hours after the Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted that during the call Pompeo expressed his "regret and deep disappointment" at the US having to postpone the 2+2 Dialogue for "unavoidable reasons".
"India's central role in US national security is enshrined in the President's National Security Strategy, which noted that 'We welcome India's emergence as a leading global power and stronger strategic and defence partner'," the spokesperson said, without explaining the "unavoidable reasons".
The spokesperson said: "US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley is in New Delhi right now for a visit focused on advancing the US-India relationship and underscoring our shared values as the largest and oldest democracies committed to a rules-based international order."
The decision to postpone the maiden 2+2 dialogue between the two countries has come as a disappointment for India watchers in the American think-tank community.
"The postponement is disappointing," Jeff Smith from Heritage Foundation, a think-tank close to the ruling Republican establishment told PTI.
"It is not so pleasing to see the 2+2 being called off. I believe the Trump administration is distracted with a summit with President Putin," Bharat Gopalaswamy from the Atlantic Council said.
"Like the summit with North Korea, they believe they might be able to advance their relations with Russia, whatever that means in tangible terms. The US' relations with Russia have deteriorated significantly over the last 18 months and I believe the Trump administration might be able to turn around a corner with one of US's significant adversaries," he said. -- PTI

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