Welcome to another issue of Sirf News’ debate show “Wait for Eight”. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Mark T Esper arrived in India today for the third edition of the 2+2 ministerial dialogue. These talks are aimed at strengthening strategic ties in the face of growing Chinese influence across the region.
Pompeo and Esper will hold top-level 2+2 talks with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tomorrow and then meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval too.
The visit coincides with the engagement of India in a bitter border standoff with China. Pompeo had indicated earlier that the dialogue is expected to focus on the “threats” from our northern neighbour.
Pompeo is due to travel also to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, two Indian Ocean countries where China has financed and built various infrastructure, to the alarm of India and the United States. In fact, China took over the control of the Hambantota port completely in 2018 after Sri Lanka failed to repay the lender at the high rate of interest demanded.
The questions we are asking tonight, ladies and gentlemen, is how effective India’s collaboration with the US is going to be against the aggression of China. We hear of an effort to bring Japan into a tripartite agreement too. But we have seen India through the past 73 years of independence that it is wary of military alliances. The US, in particular, may not go all out in helping us against China if we do not get into a military alliance with them. Will India make the paradigm shift in the policy of non-aggression?
To discuss the issue, we had with us Wing Commander (Retd) Praful Bakshi, Col Ajoy Misra, SabLokTantra’s Rachit Kaushik, OCI based in California (the US) Mantosh Sharma, Niharika Misra and political commentator Gautam Mukherjee. Sirf News’ Editor-in-Chief Surajit Dasgupta anchored the show.