US post­pones high-level di­a­logue with In­dia

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - World -

THE United States on Wed­nes­day an­nounced post­pone­ment of a high-level di­a­logue with In­dia sched­uled for next week in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., with­out as­sign­ing any rea­sons even as its am­bas­sador to the United Na­tions met with top In­dian lead­ers in New Delhi to step up ties in var­i­ous fields.

US Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo spoke with In­dia’s Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs Min­is­ter Sushma Swaraj and ex­pressed re­gret over the di­a­logue post­pone­ment for “un­avoid­able rea­sons,” said In­dia’s Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs Min­istry spokesman Raveesh Ku­mar in a tweet. No new dates were an­nounced for the meet­ing.

Swaraj and De­fense Min­is­ter Nir­mala Sithara­man were to hold talks with their Amer­i­can coun­ter­parts Mike Pom­peo and James Mat­tis next week on eco­nomic, trade and de­fense is­sues.

The an­nounce­ment came at a time of height­ened trade ten­sions be­tween the two coun­tries.

In­dia last week an­nounced a plan to raise tar­iffs on 29 US im­ports in re­tal­i­a­tion for the US de­ci­sion to in­clude In­dia in its list of coun­tries cov­ered by higher steel and alu­minium du­ties.

The US am­bas­sador to the United Na­tions Nikki Ha­ley said Wed­nes­day she saw op­por­tu­ni­ties in de­vel­op­ing stronger ties with In­dia in mul­ti­ple ways, es­pe­cially in fight­ing ter­ror­ism and mil­i­tary co­op­er­a­tion.

Ha­ley said her two-day visit to In­dia is aimed at so­lid­i­fy­ing the part­ner­ship be­tween the two coun­tries. She met with Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi and Swaraj on Wed­nes­day.

Ha­ley, the South Carolina-born daugh­ter of In­dian im­mi­grants, told re­porters in New Delhi that both coun­tries have a will­ing­ness to strengthen their part­ner­ship.

“We see those op­por­tu­ni­ties be­tween the United States and In­dia in a mul­ti­ple level of ways. Whether it’s coun­ter­ing ter­ror­ism ... whether it’s the fact that we’re go­ing to start to work to­gether more strongly on the mil­i­tary as­pect. There is a lot of things that In­dia and the US have in com­mon,” she said.

Us-in­dia re­la­tions have gen­er­ally pros­pered in the past decade, in part be­cause of their shared con­cerns about the rise of China. Both share goals of se­cu­rity, free nav­i­ga­tion, free trade and fight­ing mil­i­tants in the Indo-pa­cific re­gion.

To im­prove In­dia’s mil­i­tary ca­pa­bil­i­ties, the United States has of­fered to sell it un­armed Guardian sur­veil­lance drones, air­craft car­rier tech­nolo­gies and F-18 and F-16 fighter air­craft.

Ha­ley and Modi on Wed­nes­day dis­cussed ways to en­hance In­dia-us co­op­er­a­tion, in­clud­ing on coun­tert­er­ror­ism, said a state­ment by Modi’s of­fice.

The state­ment did not say whether Ha­ley raised the is­sue of In­dia cut­ting its de­pen­dence on Ira­nian oil fol­low­ing the US de­ci­sion to with­draw from a 2015 nu­clear deal with Iran.

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion is push­ing coun­tries to com­pletely elim­i­nate oil im­ports from Iran by Nov. 4. In­dia and South Korea, both close US al­lies, are among the largest im­porters of Ira­nian crude oil.

Fol­low­ing Wash­ing­ton’s with­drawal from the Iran deal, In­dia said it would com­ply with the United Na­tions sanc­tions and not any coun­try-spe­cific sanc­tions.

Ear­lier in the day, Ha­ley vis­ited the ma­jes­tic tomb of Mughal em­peror Hu­mayun and Save Child­hood Move­ment, a cen­ter for res­cued chil­dren run by 2014 No­bel Peace Prize win­ner Kailash Sat­yarthi. She ends her visit to In­dia on Thurs­day. – AP

US Am­bas­sador to United Na­tions Nikki Ha­ley, cen­ter, takes a tour of Hu­mayun’s Tomb, tomb of the Mughal Em­peror Hu­mayun, in New Delhi, In­dia, Wed­nes­day. Photo: AP

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