Mike Pompeo, U.S. secretary of state, left, speaks beside Subrahmanyam Jaishanka, India's foreign minister, during a news conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in New Delhi, India, on Wednesday Image Credit: Bloomberg

New Delhi - U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday asked India to withdraw retaliatory tariffs that New Delhi imposed this month, calling the duties "unacceptable".

"India, for years having put very high Tariffs against the United States, just recently increased the Tariffs even further," Trump said in a Twitter post, his first direct response to India's move earlier this month to raise tariffs on a slew of products from walnuts to pulses.

The tariffs on almost 30 American products came in response to higher duties imposed by the U.S. and Trump's move June 1 to end trade concessions on $6.3 billion of Indian goods.

Modi's administration repeatedly deferred the move, originally announced in June last year, as it sought to relieve trade tensions through talks.

The trade dispute is among several hampering closer U.S.-India cooperation just as Trump's administration also seeks Modi's help in countering China in the region. The two countries have also sparred over India's desire to buy the Russian-made S-400 missile defense system and purchase of oil from Iran, moves that would run counter to U.S. sanctions.

"I look forward to speaking with Prime Minister Modi about the fact that India, for years having put very high tariffs against the United States, just recently increased the tariffs even further," Trump said on Twitter.

"This is unacceptable and the tariffs must be withdrawn!" said Trump, who will meet Modi at this week's G20 summit in Japan.

More on the imposed tariffs

India's trade ministry did not immediately respond to a Reuters email seeking comment.

Trump's remarks could further worsen a trade row that has led to tit-for-tat tariffs from India and the United States and created an unease over the depth of their security alliance.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was in New Delhi on Wednesday, sought to reduce heightened trade tension with India, promising a renewed focus on negotiating better ties, but giving few specifics of how they would overcome disputes over trade and investment.

Trump scrapped trade privileges for India under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), under which New Delhi was the biggest beneficiary that allowed duty-free exports of up to $5.6 billion.

India initially issued an order in June last year to raise import taxes as high as 120% on a slew of U.S. items, incensed by Washington's refusal to exempt it from higher steel and aluminium tariffs.

But New Delhi repeatedly delayed raising tariffs as the two nations engaged in trade talks. Trade between them stood at about $142.1 billion in 2018.