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Wednesday 22 January 2020

Pompeo-Modi-Jaishankar talk to realise Trump’s dream of India-US strategic partnership

China has been trying to expand its military presence in the Indo-Pacific, a cause of concern for several ASEAN countries as much as for India and the United States

Washington, DC: United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will discuss the Trump administration’s “ambitious agenda” of a US-India strategic partnership when he meets with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar this month in New Delhi, the state department said.

Pompeo will travel to four countries — India, Sri Lanka, Japan, and South Korea — in the Indo-Pacific region from 24 to 30 June.

The four-nation Indo-Pacific swing by Pompeo is to broaden and deepen America’s partnerships with key countries to advance their shared goal of a free and open Indo-Pacific region, state department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said Tuesday.

“Prime Minister Modi’s recent election victory provides an excellent opportunity for him to implement his vision for a strong and prosperous India that plays a leading role on the global stage,” Ortagus said.

US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Modi are also scheduled to meet on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan on 28-29 June. In his meeting with Modi and Jaishankar, Pompeo will “discuss our ambitious agenda for the US-India strategic partnership,” she said, without elaborating.

The US and several other world powers have been talking about the need to ensure a free, open and thriving Indo-Pacific in the backdrop of China’s rising military maneuvering in the region.

China has been trying to expand its military presence in the Indo-Pacific, which is a biogeographic region, comprising the Indian Ocean and the western and central Pacific Ocean, including the South China Sea.

China claims almost all of the South China Sea. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan have counterclaims over the sea.

China has expanded through reclamation or built entirely new man-made islands atop coral reefs and has equipped many of them with military installations and airfields.

Prime Minister Modi during his recent visit to the Maldives underscored India’s firm commitment to make the strategic Indo-Pacific an area for shared economic growth, saying it has been “our lifeline, and also the highway for trade and prosperity.”

From New Delhi, Pompeo will travel to Colombo, where he will express America’s solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka as they stand united against the despicable Easter Sunday terrorist attacks, the State Department spokesperson said.

“He will also discuss promising opportunities for US-Sri Lanka cooperation based on shared commitments to a free and open Indo-Pacific region,” she said.

Pompeo will travel to Osaka to participate in the G20 Leaders’ Summit, the first such gathering hosted by Japan.

On the margins of the summit, Pompeo will join US President Trump in a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to coordinate on the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea and to discuss ways to strengthen trilateral cooperation with South Korea on their unified approach towards the North and other shared challenges, she said.

“Following the G-20, Secretary Pompeo will accompany President Trump to the Republic of Korea to meet with President Moon Jae-in. The two leaders will also discuss ways to strengthen the United States-Republic of Korea alliance.

President Trump and President Moon will continue their close coordination on efforts to achieve the final, fully verified denuclearisation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” Ortagus said.

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