United States Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo met with Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale on Monday and reaffirmed US support to India in its fight against terrorism.
Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino, in a statement, said that Pompeo and Gokahle discussed the importance of bringing those responsible for the Pulwama terror attack to justice and the urgency of Pakistan taking meaningful action against terrorist groups operating on its soil.
“Secretary Pompeo affirmed that the United States stands with the people and government of India in the fight against terrorism. Secretary Pompeo and Foreign Secretary Gokhale discussed the importance of bringing those responsible for the attack to justice and the urgency of Pakistan taking meaningful action against terrorist groups operating on its soil,” Palladino stated.
“They noted the strength of our partnership and discussed ways to further enhance cooperation, including on counterterrorism,” he added.
The two officials also discussed Washington’s complementary visions for the Indo-Pacific, US-India defense cooperation, and the growing US-India economic partnership, including joint efforts to expand bilateral trade in a balanced and reciprocal manner.
According to a statement released by the Indian Embassy in Washington, Pompeo expressed his understanding of India’s concerns regarding cross -border terrorism.
“They (US) agreed that Pakistan needs to take concerted action to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure and to deny safe haven to all terrorist groups in its territory,” said the statement.
“They also agreed that those who support or abet terrorism in any form should be held accountable,” added the statement.
It is worth noting that Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) suicide bomber attacked CRPF convoy in Pulwama on February 14 in which 40 jawans were killed.
In retaliation, Indian Air Force (IAF) targeted JeM’s largest training centre at Balakot in Pakistan on February 26 wee hours.
Gokhale also expressed satisfaction over the significant progress and the quality of India-US Strategic Partnership since Secretary Pompeo’s visit to India in September last year for the first-ever Ministerial 2+2 Dialogue, the statement said.
Gokhale and Pompeo also discussed other issues of mutual interest including Afghanistan and cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region and agreed to closely work together in this regard.
In response to Pompeo’s reference to bilateral trade matters, Gokhale underscored the significant reduction in the trade deficit in the last three years and conveyed India’s willingness to remain engaged with the US for a meaningful and mutually acceptable package on trade issues.
According to reports, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi discussed the regional security situation following Pulwama terror attack with US National Security Advisor John Bolton in a telephonic conversation on Monday.
A statement issued by Pakistan’s Foreign Office noted that the purpose of the phone call was to provide him Pakistan’s perspective on the recent regional developments.