US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit India from 25-27 June amid increasing friction between the two countries over trade-related issues.
Announcing the visit at a media briefing here on Thursday, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said this would be the first high-level engagement between the two countries after the Lok Sabha elections in India.
Pompeo will hold talks with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and also call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“The visit will be an important opportunity for both sides to explore ways to further strengthen the India-US strategic partnership and continue the high-level engagement on matters of mutual interest including bilateral, regional and global issues,” the spokesperson added.
Pompeo and Jaishankar are also expected to do the ground work for a meeting between PM Modi and US President Donald Trump on the margins of the G-20 Summit in Osaka (Japan) towards the end of the month.
Pompeo’s visit comes days after the US terminated India’s designation as a beneficiary developing country under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) programme, saying it no longer complied with the statutory eligibility criteria. In retaliation, India announced imposition of tariffs on 28 US products, including almonds and apples.
A news report on Thursday said the US has told India that it was considering caps on H-1B work visas for nations that force foreign companies to store data locally, a step which could hurt Indians working in the IT sector in the US.
The Indian spokesperson, however, refused to pay much credence to the report, saying it was a “source-based” news story. He said India has not heard anything in the matter officially from the US. India, he said, has from time to time impressed upon the US the contribution made by Indian IT professionals to the growth of American economy.