NEW DELHI: The US last week abruptly canceled the much anticipated ‘2+2 talks’ with India set for July 6 and after a lot of speculation it’s now clear why they did – a key participant in the talks, US secretary of state Mike Pompeo, is rushing off to North Korea on July 5 + .
His sudden trip, hastily planned for just a day before the scheduled talks with his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj, looks to be indeed the reason for the cancelation of the talks that were meant to focus on strengthening strategic, security and defence cooperation between the two countries.
In fact, London’s Financial Times last Thursday cited US sources that P Pompeo plans to travel to North Korea this week. Their sources were on the money.
Last Wednesday, the US is said to have conveyed to India that the ‘ 2+2 talks’ are being “postponed” due to “unavoidable reasons” + and will soon be rescheduled.
This was the second time that the so-called 2+2 dialogue was scrapped after an earlier effort to get them going in March had to be “postponed” when then secretary of state Rex Tillerson was fired by President Trump.
Speculation swirled that the talks were canceled because India-US ties are on a downward spiral no thanks to trade tiffs, India buying S-400 missiles from Russia, the H-1B visa stickiness
To avoid any talk that India is low on the US’s priority list, a US state department spokesperson maintained that “the US-India relationship is a major priority for this administration, and we look forward to continuing to strengthen our partnership.”
Meanwhile, Pompeo, who has been charged with leading negotiations aimed at persuading North Korea to give up a nuclear program that has been the source of international tension for decades, travelled twice to North Korea to set up the historic Singapore summit between Donal Tump and Kim Jong Un.
Pompeo said last week he likely would go back “before too terribly long” to try to flesh out commitments made at the Trump-Kim meeting.
And he is, on July 6.