NEW DELHI: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis arrived here Wednesday to hold the inaugural two-plus-two talks with their Indian counterparts, focus of which will be to deepen strategic ties and resolve differences over India's defence engagement with Russia and crude oil import from Iran.
Reflecting the importance of the talks to be held on Thursday, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj received Pompeo, while Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman welcomed her US counterpart Jim Mattis at the Palam airport.
Swaraj and Sitharaman will hold the twice-postponed dialogue with Pompeo and Mattis. Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford is also part of the US delegation.
"In a special gesture symbolising our warm and friendly relationship, EAM @SushmaSwaraj received United States Secretary of State @SecPompeo at the airport on his first visit to India," MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in a tweet.
The External Affairs Minister will have a separate bilateral meeting with Pompeo while Sitharaman will have a one-on-one meeting with Mattis on Thursday morning before the delegation-level two-plus-two talks.
Twelve officials from each side are expected to attend the talks which will be followed by a working lunch. In the afternoon, Swaraj, Sitharaman, Pompeo and Mattis will call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
As Secretary Pompe...