Vijay Gokhale-Mike Pompeo Meeting: India, US Say Pakistan Must Take Concerted Action To Dismantle Terror Group.

Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale on Monday in a Bilateral Foreign Office Consultation and Strategic Security Dialogue with his US counterparts and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo agreed that Pakistan must take “concerted action” to deconstruct terrorist infrastructure and deny safe haven to all terror groups on its soil.

This highest level meeting between the two countries after the Pulwama attack that escalated Indo-Pak tensions.

During the meeting, Gokhale and Pompeo agreed that those who support or abet terrorism in any form should be held accountable.

Pompeo was directly in contact with the leadership of India and Pakistan and closely monitored the developments after the Pulwama attack to ensure that security conditions in South Asia remain under control and do not deteriorate further.

Both Gokhale and Pompeo expressed their satisfaction over the significant progress the India –US partnership has made since the latter’s last visit to India in September 2018 for the first ever Ministerial 2+2 dialogue.

Gokhale on India’s behalf conveyed appreciation to the US and to Pompeo personally for the firm support that India received from US in the Pulwama terror incident. Pompeo affirmed that US stands with the people and government of India to fight against terrorism.

They discussed the importance of bringing those responsible for the attack to justice and the urgent need to pressurize Pakistan to take strict action against terrorist groups operating on its soil.They also talked about ways to further enhance cooperation between the two nations.

They also discussed other issues of mutual interest including Afghanistan and cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, US-India defence cooperation and the growing US-India economic partnership, including joint efforts to expand bilateral trade in a balanced and reciprocal manner.

In this context Indian foreign secretary pointed out the significant reduction in trade deficit between India and US 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.

Ahead of these talks between Gokhale and Pompeo, Pakistan Foreign Minister Mahmood Shah Qureshi spoke to US National Security Advisor John Bolton over phone and briefed him about the measures taken by Islamabad to de-escalate tensions with India following the Pulwama terror attack.

State Department Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino during his bi-weekly news conference last Tuesday said Pompeo played an “important role” in de-escalating tensions between India and Pakistan.

Going by the protocol, it is quite unusual for Pompeo to meet Gokhale but this kind of Foreign office consultation and strategic security dialogue with the US are regular high-level dialogue mechanisms to review bilateral relations, exchange views on major foreign policy and security related developments and co-ordinate respective positions on issues of common interest.

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