New Delhi: Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale will on Monday meet the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to discuss bilateral, regional and global issues of common interest. Gokhale arrived in the US on Sunday in connection with the same. Also Read - India, US Should Stand Together in Defence of Religious Rights: Pompeo
The meeting is crucial for boosting ties between both countries. It will be a high-level dialogue where leaders from both countries will review bilateral relations, exchange views on major foreign policy and security-related developments along with coordination of respective positions on issues of common interest. Also Read - India-Pakistan Standoff: Continue to be Very Engaged With Issue, Hope Tension Would De-escalate, Says US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
According to Pompeo’s schedule for Monday released to the media, the State Department said the meeting between the US Secretary of State and Gokhale is scheduled at about 9 AM local time or 6.30 PM IST. Also Read - India Summons Pakistan Envoy Over Shah Mehmood Qureshi's Phone Call to Hurriyat Leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq
“Secretary Pompeo meets with Indian Foreign Secretary Shri Vijay Gokhale at the Department of State,” the State Department said.
“Foreign Secy V Gokhale is visiting US from 11-13 March in connection with bilateral Foreign Office Consultation and Strategic Security Dialogue with US’ Under Secy of State for Political Affairs David Hale and Under Secy of State for Arms Control and Int’l Security Andrea Thompson,” ANI reported.
During his visit to the US, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale is also likely to meet with senior leaders in the US administration and US Congress.
While his US trip was scheduled much before the February 14 Pulwama terrorist attack, Gokhale’s meeting with Pompeo and his counterparts here this week is expected to gain media spotlight in view of the escalated tension between India and Pakistan in the aftermath of the air strike at a terrorist camp deep inside Pakistan and subsequent developments.
Tensions between India and Pakistan flared up after a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror group killed 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel in Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
India launched a counter-terror operation in Balakot on February 26. The next day, Pakistan Air Force retaliated and downed a MiG-21 and captured its pilot Abhinandan Varthaman, who was handed over to India on Friday.
State Department Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino, during his bi-weekly news conference last Tuesday, said Pompeo played an “essential role” in de-escalating tensions between India and Pakistan.
“Secretary Pompeo led diplomatic engagement directly, and that played an essential role in de-escalating the tensions between the two sides,” he had then said.