2+2 dialogue postponement not related to bilateral ties: US

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New Delhi, June 28 (IANS) The US on Thursday said the postponement of 2+2 dialogue with India was unrelated to bilateral relationship, virtually dismissing reports that linked it to issues like impact of the sanctions against Iran on New Delhi and the proposal to purchase the S-400 missile system from Russia.

“Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo spoke last night with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to convey his regret for having to postpone the 2+2 dialogue, which had been scheduled for July 6. This scheduling change was prompted by reasons entirely unrelated to the bilateral relationship,” said a US Embassy press release.

It said both the leaders agreed to reschedule the 2+2 dialogue as soon as possible. “The U.S.-India partnership is a major strategic priority for the Trump Administration. The US remains firmly committed to a strong relationship with India,” the release added.

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News reports had sought to suggest that the sudden decision by the US on Wednesday night to postpone the talks could be due to the fact that New Delhi may find it difficult to stop all oil imports from Iran beyond November this year following sanctions against Teheran on the nuclear issue.

Ihe deferring of the 2+2 dialogue was also sought to be linked to the proposed defence deal with Russia.

But there was no official reason given for why Washington decided on the postponement except to say that there were scheduling problems.

Under the 2+2 dialogue, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman were to travel to Washington to hold talks with their US counterparts Michael Pompeo and James Mattis on July 6 on bilateral issues.

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