Foreign Secretary Gokhale to meet Pompeo, top US officials

Foreign Secretary Gokhale to meet Pompeo, top US officials
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Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale will call on US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and meet other senior officials of the Trump administration here on Monday and exchange views on major foreign policy and security-related issues, officials said, amidst tensions between India and Pakistan after the Pulwama attack.

Gokhale arrived in the US on Sunday for the bilateralForeign Office Consultation and Strategic Security Dialogue with his Americancounterparts, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale andUnder Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security AndreaThompson.

While his 3-day US trip was scheduled much before theFebruary 14 Pulwama attack, Gokhale's meetings with Pompeo and his counterpartshere this week are considered significant in view of the escalated tensionbetween India and Pakistan in the aftermath of Indian Air Force strike inBalakot in Pakistan and the subsequent developments.

Tensions between India and Pakistan flared up after asuicide bomber of JeM killed 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel inKashmir's Pulwama district.

India has provided a dossier to Pakistan, detailing the roleof JeM in the Pulwama attack. India has also said that Pakistan has failed totake any credible action against JeM and other such organizations.

State Department Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino,during his bi-weekly news conference last Tuesday, said Secretary of StatePompeo played an "essential role" in de-escalating tensions betweenIndia and Pakistan.

"Secretary Pompeo led diplomatic engagement directly,and that played an essential role in de-escalating the tensions between the twosides," he had said.

According to Pompeo's schedule for Monday released to themedia, the State Department said the meeting between the US Secretary of Stateand Gokhale is scheduled on Monday morning.

"Secretary Pompeo meets with Indian Foreign SecretaryVijay Gokhale at the Department of State," the State Department said.

Protocol-wise, it is quite unusual for Pompeo to meet Gokhale,but over the last few years, the US Secretary of State has met the ForeignSecretary, including his predecessor S Jaishankar.

The 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 coordinate respective positions on issues of common interest, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said. PTI

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