US postpones '2+2 dialogue' with India for `unavoidable reasons'
28 June 2018
The United States today decided to again postpone the first 2+2 dialogue with India, which was slated for next week, citing “unavoidable reasons,” and expressed regret.
The announcement comes hours after the United States accused India of overcharging American products and warned the government against oil imports from Iran. Secretary of state Mike Pompeo spoke with external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and expressed his "regret and deep disappointment"
The maiden India-US '2+2 dialogue' was to be held on 6 July, and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman were to meet with US secretary of state Michael R Pompeo and secretary of defence James Mattis in the first such dialogue.
“US @SecPompeo spoke to EAM @SushmaSwaraj a short while ago to express his regret and deep disappointment at the US having to postpone the 2+2 Dialogue for unavoidable reasons," external affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.
Raveesh Kumar said both Pompeo and Swaraj have agreed to find another earliest possible date for the dialogue, either in India or in the US. Kumar, however, said Pompeo did not cite any particular reason behind this sudden move to "postpone" the 6 July meeting.
“US @SecPompeo sought EAM @SushmaSwaraj understanding, and they agreed to identify new mutually convenient dates to hold the Dialogue at the earliest, in India or the US.”
India and the US were in the process of improving convergence on defence, security and other strategic issues, but President Trump’s decision to impose tariff on imports from several countries, including India, seems to have changed the equation and the economic relationship is headed for a rocky patch.
Pompeo’s announcement of the postponing of the bilateral security dialogue comes hours after President Trump targeted India again in his tariff action. “We have countries where, as an example, India, they charge up as much as 100 per cent tariff. We want the tariffs removed,” Trump said.
Simultaneously, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley met Prime Minister Narendra Modi today and reiterated that it was important for India to cut its dependence on Iranian oil.
This is the second time that the US has postponed the maiden two-way dialogue, which was announced last summer when Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with President Trump at the White House.
The meeting was earlier scheduled to take place on 18-19 April, but the US had postponed it due to the uncertainty over the confirmation of Mike Pompeo as the new secretary of state after President Trump fired Rex Tillerson.
After June last year, the two countries have tried to schedule the dialogue many times with several dates having been considered.