Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale will call on US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and meet other senior officials of the Donald Trump administration in Washington today and exchange views on major foreign policy and security-related issues, officials said, amid tensions between India and Pakistan after the Pulwama terror attack.
Mr Gokhale arrived in the US on Sunday for the bilateral Foreign Office Consultation and Strategic Security Dialogue with his American counterparts, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale and Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Andrea Thompson.
While his three-day US trip was scheduled much before the February 14 Pulwama terrorist attack, Mr Gokhale's meetings with Mr Pompeo and his counterparts this week are being considered significant.
Tensions between India and Pakistan escalated after Indian fighter jets bombed terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed's biggest training camp near Balakot deep inside Pakistan on February 26.
Pakistan retaliated by attempting to target Indian military installations next day. However, the IAF thwarted their plans.
The Indian strike on the JeM camp was carried out 12 days after the terror outfit claimed responsibility for the Pulwama terror attack on a CRPF convoy in Kashmir, killing 40 soldiers.
State Department Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino, during his bi-weekly news conference last Tuesday, said Secretary of State Pompeo played an "essential role" in de-escalating tensions between India and Pakistan.
"Secretary Pompeo led diplomatic engagement directly, and that played an essential role in de-escalating the tensions between the two sides," he had said.
According to Mr Pompeo's schedule released to the media, the State Department said the meeting between the US Secretary of State and Gokhale is scheduled for today morning.
"Secretary Pompeo meets with Indian Foreign Secretary Shri Vijay Gokhale at the Department of State," the State Department said.
The foreign office consultation and strategic security dialogue with the US are regular high-level dialogue mechanisms to review bilateral relations, exchange views on major foreign policy and security-related developments and coordinate respective positions on issues of common interest, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.
Mr Gokhale's visit comes as India intensifies its efforts to declare JeM chief Masood Azhar a global terrorist by the United Nations Security Council.
Last month, the US, the UK and France made a fresh bid at the UN to ban Masood Azhar. JeM is already a UN-designated terrorist organisation.
During his visit, the Foreign Secretary is also likely to meet with senior leaders in the US administration and the US Congress.
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