Washington has moved to withdraw its tax exemption programme for Pakistani diplomats, after earlier barring Washington-based Pakistani diplomats from travelling outside a 25-kilometre radius around the city without prior approval.
Speaking at the India Ideas Summit in Washington on Wednesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington and New Delhi have a unique opportunity to take advantage of their “special partnership”.
“When Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the United States in 2017, President Trump and Modi shared a few hugs and goodwill,” Pompeo said.
“PM Modi said Indian interest lies in a strong, prosperous and successful America. In similar ways, India’s development and its growing role at the international level are in the United States of America’s interest as well.”
Mike Pompeo underscored a willingness on the part of the US to facilitate a dialogue in order to resolve trade differences with India.
“It’s a partnership of equals is how we see it,” added Pompeo, who is set to visit India at the end of the month, when the countries are gearing up for a meeting between President Trump and PM Modi on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in Osaka, Japan.
“Under President Trump, we have taken our defence cooperation to new heights, solidifying our common vision in the Indo-Pacific and have taken a far tougher stance on Pakistan’s unacceptable support for terrorism,” Pompeo claimed.
Mike Pompeo’s words come on the heels of Washington’s move to withdraw its tax exemption programme for Pakistani diplomats, a year after the US barred Pakistani diplomats working in Washington from travelling outside a 25-kilometre radius around the city without prior approval.
Earlier, President Donald Trump suspended $1.3 billion in annual security aid it had been providing to Pakistan, citing the country’s alleged inaction on the terrorism front, a claim strongly denied by Islamabad.
India-Pakistan tensions spiralled to a new low in February when a Pakistan-based militant group, Jaish-e-Mohammad, claimed responsibility for an attack on a military convoy in which 44 of India’s paramilitary police were killed.
In the wake of the Pulwama terror attack, US National Security Adviser John Bolton told his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval that the US supports India’s right to self-defence as both sides have vowed to work together to ensure that Pakistan “ceases to be a safe haven for JeM and other terror groups”.