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U.S. says not seeking to punish India for its Russia arms purchases

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday the United States was not seeking to punish India for its proposed purchase of a missile defense system from Russia.

India faces the risk of secondary U.S. sanctions for its planned acquisition of the S-400 system from Russia, which it says it needs as a deterrent to China.

“Our effort here is not to penalize a great strategic partner like India,” Pompeo told reporters after top level talks with Indian leaders to advance political and security ties between the two democracies.

He said Washington was also working with New Delhi to tackle the issue of India’s oil imports from Iran, which face U.S. sanctions.

The United States is pushing all countries to halt oil imports from Iran after President Donald Trump in May withdrew from a 2015 deal between Iran and six world powers and ordered a re-imposition of sanctions on it.

Some sanctions came in effect on Aug. 6 and the rest, notably in the petroleum sector, on Nov. 4.

Trump has warned that anyone trading with Iran would not do business with the United States.

Writing by Sanjeev Miglani; Editing by Robert Birsel