2+2 dialogue postponement not linked to trade, Iran sanctions: U.S.

The abrupt postponement of the first 2+2 dialogue between India and the U.S, which was scheduled to take place on July 6, has nothing to do with any disagreement between the two countries, a spokesperson of U.S State Department told The Hindu.

“This scheduling change has nothing to do with trade, sanctions, or any other policy issues. We remain firmly committed to our partnership with India and look forward to rescheduling the 2+2 as soon as possible,” the spokesperson said, when asked whether the postponement of the July 6 event was linked to disagreements between India and U.S on sanctions against Iran and trade.

“The U.S.-India relationship is a major priority for this administration, and we look forward to continuing to strengthen our partnership,” the official said.

Cancellation due to upcoming U.S.-Russia summit?

Sources familiar with the developments said, the cancellation of the dialogue is linked to the fast movement in U.S. President Donald Trump’s plans to have a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has emerged as the point man for Mr. Trump’s risky foreign policy ventures, is being asked to focus on Russia, according to a source. Mr. Pompeo is likely to travel to Russia ahead of Trump-Putin summit in mid-July.

Mr. Pompeo and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj agreed that the 2+2 dialogue between the two countries “would be rescheduled as soon as possible at a mutually convenient time and location,” when they spoke on the phone on Wednesday, the spokesperson said.

The official also said, “India’s central role in U.S. national security is enshrined in the President’s National Security Strategy, which noted that “We welcome India’s emergence as a leading global power and stronger strategic and defence partner.”

“U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley is in New Delhi right now for a visit focused on advancing the U.S.-India relationship and underscoring our shared values as the largest and oldest democracies committed to a rules-based international order,” the official added.

Will meet Putin in Europe, says Trump

Meanwhile, speaking to reporters at Oval Office on Wednesday, Mr. Trump replied, “most likely,” when asked if he would be meeting Mr. Putin.

“John Bolton is over there now… He’s over in Russia right now. I just saw watching media that he… met with President Putin. I haven’t gotten the full report yet . It would look like we will probably be meeting in the not too distant future and I’ve said it from day one getting along with Russia and China and with everybody is a very good thing.”

Mr. Trump added hinted that the meeting is likely to happenin mid-July when he will be travelling to Belgium and the U.K.

He also congratulated Russia for doing “a fantastic job with the World Cup right now.”

“It’s exciting. My son loves soccer and he loves watching the World Cup and they have really done a fantastic job. It’s exciting even if you are not a soccer fan,” said Mr. Trump.