New York: In the first high-level face-to-face India-US encounter after the February 14 Pulwama terror attack, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Indian foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale discussed the "urgency" of Pakistan taking action against terror groups. Pompeo "affirmed that the US stands with the people and government of India in the fight against terrorism", State Department deputy spokesman Robert Palladino said.
He said that they discussed "the importance of bringing those responsible for the attack to justice and the urgency of Pakistan taking meaningful action against terrorist groups operating on its soil." Gokhale is on a three-day visit to Washington for diplomatic consultations and strategic security dialogue with the US. He is scheduled to meet Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale and Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Andrea Thompson. He will also hold talks with other US lawmakers.
The Indian Embassy in Washington said in a statement: "Pompeo expressed his understanding of India's concerns regarding cross-border terrorism. They agreed that Pakistan needs to take concerted action to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure and to deny safe haven to all terrorist groups in its territory. "They also agreed that those who support or abet terrorism in any form should be held accountable." Gokhale "conveyed appreciation to the US government and to Secretary Pompeo personally for the firm support that India received from the US in the aftermath of the terrorist attack in Pulwama", the statement added.
The two leaders appreciated "the significant progress and the quality of the India-US Strategic Partnership", following Pompeo's visit to India last September for the first Ministerial 2+2 Dialogue of the foreign policy and defence leaders. He also apprised Pompeo about the recent developments in the region, it said. Last month, the Pulwama terror attack carried out by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) killed 40 CRPF personnel. India launched an attack on terrorist camp in Pakistan and an air skirmish between the two neighbours followed during which an Indian MiG-21 was shot down and its pilot, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was captured by Pakistan. He was later released after Pompeo's intense diplomacy. During the crisis, US President Donald Trump, Pompeo and US National Security Adviser John Bolton backed India's opposition to cross-border terrorism.