US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in India: Besides trade and immigration issues, single engine fighters on agenda

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Published: June 20, 2019 1:13:48 PM

The two countries will soon be inking the Industrial Security agreement as the draft is vetted and ready for signature, sources said.

Mike Pompeo is arriving in New Delhi early next week (AP File photo)Mike Pompeo is arriving in New Delhi early next week (AP File photo)

When US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrives in India, besides focusing on points-based immigration policy, trade matters, Indian Air Force (IAF) single engine fighter among other issues is topping the agenda of talks in New Delhi.

Diplomatic sources have confirmed to Financial Express Online that the single-engine fighters for the IAF are one of the priority issues besides trade that the two sides will discuss. If India drops Russian S-400 Triumf air defence system, then the US government is expected to offer of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter when Pompeo comes here next week. All defence deals with the US are Foreign Military sales and talks are between the two governments.

“India has already made the selection of its twin-engine fighter the Rafale from French Company Dassault Aviation and it likely to re-order. As Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) looms large due to S400 and other Russian acquisitions by India, this may be a way forward for the US India trade relationship and overall stability to the defence aspects of both countries,” sources pointed out.

The US government has informed India that it would bring sanctions under the CAATSA, if the purchase of the S-400 Triumf missile shield from Russia goes through. However, highly placed sources told Financial Express Online, “The US government through various discussions was informed that this deal is not new, but an old deal, negotiations for which concluded only last year when it was signed.”

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Pompeo is arriving in New Delhi early next week and will meet with top Indian leaders including the new external affairs minister Dr S Jaishankar ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the G-20 summit on June 28-29 in Osaka, Japan later this month.

Over the last few weeks, the India-US bilateral trade relations are under stress, after the Trump Administration put an end to the preferential benefits for Indian exports worth $6.35 billion, and India’s retaliatory step of raising tariffs on 28 products of that country. According to sources, Pompeo might ask New Delhi to ink Comprehensive Trade Agreement in an effort to resolve the present trade war between the two countries.

Also, talks will focus on the sanctions imposed by the US on Iran, Venezuela and Russia under which India has to stop all its oil and arms imports from these countries. This visit is also being treated as a preparatory visit for the second 2+2 Indo-US Dialogue which is expected to take place later this year in Washington DC.

The two countries will soon be inking the Industrial Security agreement as the draft is vetted and ready for signature, sources said.

Last month the Trump administration had announced replacing the existing green cards with ‘Build America’ visa, which will be points-based immigration policy, which is expected to give more points to the youth or those having a valuable skill, an offer of employment, an advanced education, or a plan to create jobs.

Every year the US issues nearly 1.1 million green cards, which gives foreign nationals lifetime permission to live and work in the US and a path to citizenship in five years.

Sharing his views on the proposed new US Immigration Policy, Harjit Singh founder, EB 5 USA services says, “The US President Trump has been a hard liner when it comes to Immigration. He is saying the right things, protecting low-income American workers and most importantly solve the illegal immigrant workers. He is softening his tone to win independent and immigrant votes.”

According to Singh “This bill will never pass the US Congress because the point based system will never solve illegal immigrants and temporary workers living in America.”

In 2018 Pompeo had come to India for the first 2+2 Indo-US Ministerial Dialogue, when along with the former Defence Secretary Jim Mattis had discussed military sales as well as strengthening strategic relations between the two countries.

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