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Top Congressman Writes To Pompeo On Concerns Over India Ties

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A top US lawmaker sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo raising concerns over the Trump Administration's inconsistent policy towards India.

Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D-NY) sent the letter Tuesday, on the eve of Pompeo's visit to Indian capital New Delhi.

There is lack of predictability and coherence in the United States' strategic relationship with India, according to Engel, who is Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

He warned that in addition to this, the Trump administration's failure to confirm an Assistant Secretary, more than two years into this administration's term, threatens to undermine the historic U.S.-India partnership.

"I urge you to use your visit to not only reaffirm and strengthen the U.S.-India strategic partnership, but also convey a coherent set of objectives and predictability to the new Indian government that will help this relationship reach its full potential," Engel said in his letter.

US President Donald Trump is set to meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of G-20 summit in Japan this weekend. It will be their first meeting since Modi was re-elected last month.

Tensions have increased over both the countries' tariff policies recently.

In response to higher duties imposed by the US on products including steel and aluminum, India raised tariffs on 28 products, including almonds and walnuts, on June 16.

On June 1, the US stripped India of its privileges under the Generalized System of Preferences, which allows designated beneficiary countries to export their products duty-free.

Engel warned that the decision to end waivers related to U.S. sanctions on Iran could alienate India "when we need to be working with our partners to prevent destabilizing Iranian activities".

Engel noted that there is a growing view that the Trump Administration is attempting to coerce India into complying with U.S. demands on a variety of issues, rather than negotiating with them as a strategic partner.

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