Regional Security, Defence Trade on Agenda as Pompeo Arrives in 'Leading Power' India for 2+2 Talks
File Photo: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo greets Indian Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar at the State Department in Washington, US, December 18, 2019. (REUTERS)
US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Defence Secretary Mark T Esper will visit India on October 26 and 27 for the high-level dialogue aimed at further boosting defence, security and global strategic ties between the two countries.
- Last Updated: October 26, 2020, 19:55 IST
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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Mark T Esper have left for India for the two-plus-two dialogue between the two countries which will be held on October 27. The dialogue will entail a comprehensive discussion on bilateral issues as well as deliberations on regional and global developments, especially China's growing aggression. The visit also comes a week before the US presidential election on November 3.
“Wheels up for my trip to India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, and Indonesia. Grateful for the opportunity to connect with our partners to promote a shared vision for a free and open #IndoPacific composed of independent, strong, and prosperous nations,” Pompeo said on Twitter.
Wheels up for my trip to India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, and Indonesia. Grateful for the opportunity to connect with our partners to promote a shared vision for a free and open #IndoPacific composed of independent, strong, and prosperous nations. pic.twitter.com/IoaJvtsHZC— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) October 25, 2020
Pompeo and Esper will visit India on October 26 and 27 for the high-level dialogue aimed at further boosting defence, security and global strategic ties between the two countries. The Indian side at the talks will be represented by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
The high-level talks are being held as India's engaged in a tense border row with China in eastern Ladakh as well as the renewed global attention on the growing Chinese military aggression in the Indo-Pacific region. Both issues are likely to be included in the talks. India, the US and several other world powers have been emphasizing on the need to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific in the backdrop of China's increasing military movement in the region.
In November 2017, India, Japan, the US and Australia formalised the long-pending proposal of establishing the "Quad" to develop a new strategy to keep the key sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of any influence. Amid increasing global concern over China's expansionist agenda, the foreign ministers of the Quad member nations met in Tokyo on October 6 and reiterated their collective vision for a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific.
The developing situation in the Indo-Pacific region amid China's growing military muscle-flexing has emerged as an issue of concern among leading global powers. The US has been supporting the creation of the Quad's security architecture to limit China's increasing aggression. Prior to the meeting, the US State Department said America welcomes India's emergence as a leading regional and global power.
As per the State Department, the recent Quadrilateral Ministerial meeting held in Tokyo displayed the strong cooperative ties among Indo-Pacific democracies interested in strengthening a rules-based order in which all nations are sovereign, strong, and prosperous.
India, with its large economy, strong support for entrepreneurship and innovation, and its growing international trade, is one of the world's leading economic powers and is well-positioned to promote our shared vision for a free and rules-based Indo-Pacific where all nations can prosper, it said. Remarking that India and the US are broadening cooperation between the two militaries, the fact sheet said this includes the navies, which play a critical role in ensuring freedom of navigation in the Indo-Pacific.
Observing that defence trade has gone up considerably over the past two decades, the State Department said India maintains the largest fleets of C-17 and P-8 aircraft outside the United States and as of 2020, the United States has given a nod to more than USD 20 billion in defence sales to India. "The United States and India enjoy robust defence industrial cooperation. Through the US- India Defense Technology and Trade Initiative, the United States and India work together on co-production and co-development of defence equipment," it said.
Notably, the first edition of the 2+2 dialogue was held in Delhi in September 2018 after the mechanism was assented to by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump. The second edition of the dialogue took place in Washington in December 2019.
(With PTI inputs)