US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived New Delhi onTuesday night on his three-day visit to the country to strengthen strategicties between the two nations.
Pompeo will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Ministerof External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar on Wednesday to discuss agenda forthe US-India strategic partnership.
He will also deliver a speech on the future of therelationship and opportunities for cooperation on global issues of sharedconcern.
As vibrant democracies rooted in shared values, withfast-growing economies, cultures of entrepreneurship, and leadership positionson the global stage, the United States and India are natural strategicpartners, a statement issued by the US Department of State said.
US President Donald Trump and Modi are firmly committed toaccelerating the upward trajectory of this partnership. Modi's sweeping mandatein the recent elections creates a unique opportunity to realise this vision, itsaid.
The statement further said: "The US and India aremoving quickly to achieve our shared vision for a free, open, and rules-basedIndo-Pacific region by expanding cooperation in areas such as energy, aviation,and space".
"We have elevated the level of strategic interactionbetween our two countries, most notably through the annual 2+2 MinisterialDialogue that pairs the Secretaries of State and Defense with their Indiancounterparts.
"The first 2+2 was held in September 2018 andculminated in the announcement of a new tri-service exercise and the signing ofa secure communications agreement that will enable India to operationalize itsstatus as a Major Defense Partner," it said.
We anticipate holding the next 2+2 in late 2019 inWashington, it further added.
The United States granted India Strategic TradeAuthorization tier 1 status last year, allowing India to enjoy the samelicence-free access to certain defence articles as NATO allies, Japan, SouthKorea, and Australia. This status also creates greater supply chain efficiencyand supports US industry and investment.
Secretary Pompeo's visit marks the third visit to India by aSecretary of State during the Trump Administration.
The United States is India's most important trading partner.As India's number one overseas market, the United States purchases close toone-fifth of India's exports. India is also the fastest growing major marketfor US goods, the statement said.
Two-way bilateral goods and services trade with Indiatotaled $142 billion in 2018, up 12.6 per cent, or almost $16 billion, over theprior year.
US defence sales to India are estimated to reachapproximately $18 billion by 2019 from near zero in 2008, boosting India'snational security capabilities and increasing employment in both countries.
US companies see great opportunity in India, and increasedeconomic openness and investment will yield mutual benefit. The TrumpAdministration is working to ensure that American companies operating in Indiahave the same level playing field that Indian companies enjoy in the US, thestatement said.