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US Secretary of State to meet Indian Foreign Secretary today


Washington, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is meeting Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale on Monday at the Department of State," the State Department statement said. According to Pompeo's schedule for Monday released to the media, the State Department said the meeting between the US Secretary of State and Indian Foreign Secretary is scheduled at about 9 am local time or 6.30 pm IST. Gokhale arrived in the US on Sunday in connection with the bilateral Foreign Office Consultation and Strategic Security Dialogue with his American counterparts, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale and Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Andrea Thompson. During the meeting on Monday, Pompeo and Gokhale are likely to discuss bilateral, regional and global issues of common interest. While his US trip was scheduled much before the February 14 Pulwama terrorist attack, Gokhale's meeting with Pompeo and his counterparts here is expected to gain media spotlight in view of the escalated tension between India and Pakistan in the aftermath of the air strike at a terrorist camp deep inside Pakistan and subsequent developments. Tensions between India and Pakistan flared up after a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror group killed 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel in Kashmir's Pulwama district. India launched a counter-terror operation in Balakot on February 26. The next day, Pakistan Air Force retaliated and downed a MiG-21 and captured its pilot Abhinandan Varthaman, who was handed over to India on Friday. State Department Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino, during his bi-weekly news conference last Tuesday, said Pompeo played an "essential role" in de-escalating tensions between India and Pakistan. "Secretary Pompeo led diplomatic engagement directly, and that played an essential role in de-escalating the tensions between the two sides," he had then said. During his visit, the Foreign Secretary is also likely to meet with senior leaders in the US administration and the US Congress.

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