India on Wednesday told the U.S. that it would act upon its own national interests while dealing with sanctions-hit Russia from whom New Delhi is procuring S-400 missile defense systems.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar made a joint statement in New Delhi after the countries' first high-level bilateral talks after the Modi government's reelection.
Asked about the possibility of U.S. sanctions due to New Delhi’s $5 billion purchase of Russian S-400 missile defense systems, Jaishankar said India has relationships with several countries.
"We will do what is in our national interest and part of that strategic partnership is the ability of each country to comprehend and appreciate the national interest of the other," he added.
- New heights in relations
For his part, Pompeo said India was an important partner of the U.S. and that bilateral ties were reaching new heights.
Jaishankar underlined New Delhi's "appreciation for the strong support that we have received from the Trump administration."
During his meeting with Pompoe they have discussed "a number of bilateral and global issues on terrorism," he said, underlining India's position of "zero tolerance" for cross-border terrorism.
The two also discussed Iran and other Gulf countries, he said, with a focus on energy security, the Indian diaspora, trade and regional security.
Mike Pompeo on Tuesday arrived in New Delhi for a three-day visit ahead of an upcoming G20 Summit in Japan's Osaka, where a meeting is slated between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Donald Trump.
Modi received Pompeo earlier on Wednesday, reiterating India's priority for good relations with Washington and outlining his vision for a "strategic partnership" between the two countries, according to a statement by the Indian External Affairs Ministry.
He stressed India's commitment to achieve the full potential of bilateral relations in trade and economy, energy, defense, counter-terrorism and people-to-people contacts, the statement said.
Pompeo also expressed the U.S. Government’s continued interest in building stronger relations with India and working together to realize shared visions and goals.
By Shuriah Niazi in New Delhi, India