USA puts pressure on Pakistan on behest of India, says Chinese scholar

USA puts pressure on Pakistan on behest of India, says Chinese scholar

Immigration-related issues and cooperation in counter-terrorism operations will be the other prominent areas that will be discussed by the Minister of External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj, and Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, in their talks with their respective American counterparts, US Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo, and Defence Secretary James N Mattis.

Pompeo and Mattis will also meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during their visit.

The Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) has always been a demand of the United States and would open the door for Washington to sell sensitive defense equipment to India, like the armed version of Guardian drones. The second could be about India's (and US) role in the Indo-Pacific region (a relatively new term replacing Asia-Pacific).

However last week, Randall Schriver, the Pentagon's assistant secretary of defence for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, warned there are no guarantees.

USA secretary of state Mike Pompeo and defence secretary Jim Mattis arrived in Delhi on Wednesday to hold the inaugural two-plus-two talks with their Indian counterparts. The US has designated India as a "major defence partner" but insists that for it to get access to cutting-edge technology, some "foundational agreements" should be in place. Since the administration of George W. Bush, the United States has sought to encourage India to act as a counterweight to counterweight to Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean. "Those are the kinds of topics that secretary Mattis and I are hoping to address - not that those are not important, but they are not part of the structural relationship between the two countries".

China claims nearly all of the resource-rich South China Sea.

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Despite the optimism, USA officials acknowledge that the two countries will also discuss significant disagreements.

On import of Iranian oil, the sources said India may also convey to the U.S. that some of its refineries are dependent on certain kind of crude oil and making technical adjustments in them may require huge investments as well as time.

Under current U.S. rules against Russia, third countries could face sanctions if they transact with Russian defence or intelligence sectors.

The US is open to helping India find an alternative for the S-400, he added. However, a new defense bill gives the president the authority to grant waivers in case of national security interests. New Delhi is in the final stages of negotiations with Moscow to purchase a $6 billion sophisticated air defense system that will provide high altitude protection from incoming missiles. "How far can you take this relationship if you have the Damocles sword of sanctions hanging over India?" he asked. It has told India and other countries to cut oil imports from the Gulf nation to "zero" by November 4 or face sanctions. But the USA has not extricated itself from its dependence on Pakistan in the Afghan issue, so how far it can cater to India's request is worth pondering.

China has no plans to reduce Iranian oil imports and USA officials have suggested China could be the target of US sanctions as a result.

"They will certainly come up, but I don't think they will be the primary focus of what it is we're trying to accomplish here", said Secretary Pompeo.

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