New Delhi (Sputnik) - United States Secretary of State Michael Pompeo will arrive in New Delhi for a high-profile visit between 25 – 26 June. The visit is important as it is the first high-profile trip by a senior Trump Administration official to the country since Prime Minister Modi’s re-election.
Indian security and defence analyst Pravin Sawhney was of the view that Michael Pompeo's visit would be mostly about appearaces.
Sputnik: The bilateral relationship between the United States and India is currently in a state of flux over differences on trade and tariffs on the one hand and defence procurement on the other. Will Secretary of State Michael Pompeo seek to resolve these issues during his visit to New Delhi and bring the partnership back on track?
Pravin Sawhney: This upcoming visit by Michael Pompeo to New Delhi will be quite high on optics. I am sure both sides will be having fairly detailed discussions on all issues that are of mutual importance to both countries. But I don’t expect any major departure from the announcements that are likely to be made on key issues that form the basis of the strategic and bilateral partnership.
Sputnik: Will India be under any pressure from the United States with regard to the S-400 deal with Russia, especially during Secretary Pompeo’s visit?
Pravin Sawhney: Not at all. I am absolutely certain that the S-400 deal with Russia is a done thing. There is no question of going back on it. You know the long and short of it is that India will stick to its commitment to buy the S-400 anti-missile shield from Russia. I have no doubts on that.
Sputnik: The United States is on record as saying that if India goes ahead with the purchase of the S-400 anti-missile shield from Russia, it may not be able to offer New Delhi its MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile system or the F-35 Lightning II all-weather, stealth, fifth-generation multi-role combat aircraft. Is this the case?
Pravin Sawhney: We don’t want them. We don’t want either of those. We have decided to buy the S-400, which is an anti-ballistic system, why should we spend another one billion dollars on a system which is not an anti-ballistic missile and one that looks after cruise missiles and UAVs. So this talk is a lot of nonsense about F-35s, I mean who wants F35s, there are far too many problems with it; it’s just too expensive. This is something that the Americans are trying to give us.
Sputnik: What would be of immediate interest to America during the Pompeo visit?
Pravin Sawhney: The immediate issue for the Americans will be for India to buy their equipment. Because India is going ahead with the S-400 deal, to ensure a balance, it may agree to buy about $10 billion dollars worth of equipment from the US over the next couple of years.
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