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India a key pillar of Trump's foreign policy: Pompeo

By Lalit K Jha
July 23, 2020 01:27 IST
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Describing India as one of the few trusted like-minded countries, United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday that New Delhi is an important partner and a key pillar of President Donald Trump's foreign policy.

 

In his virtual keynote address to the annual 'India Ideas Summit' of the US India Business Council (USIBC), Pompeo said he was happy to report that India is a 'rising' US defense and security partner in the Indo-Pacific and globally.

The United States, he said, 'desires a new age of ambition' in its relationship with India.

Asserting that the US has never been more supportive of India's security, he said New Delhi too, is an important partner and a key pillar of President Trump's foreign policy.

"We don't just interact on a bilateral basis. We see each other for what we are great democracies, global powers and really good friends. India is one of the few trusted like-minded countries whose leaders I call on a regular basis for counsel and collaboration on issues that span continents," Pompeo said.

"I'm confident that our relationship is only getting stronger. Let's emerge from this current challenge more resilient and innovative than before.

"And let's seize this moment to deepen cooperation between two of the world's greatest democracies," he added.

Pompeo said the US has invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the next G7 meeting to be hosted by President Trump.

"We will advance the economic prosperity network. It is the group of countries and organisations that we consider natural partners with we share values like democracy, transparency and rule of law," Pompeo said.

The Group of Seven (G-7) is an international intergovernmental economic organisation consisting of seven major developed countries: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States, which are some of the largest IMF-advanced economies in the world.

Pompeo also said that he was happy to report that India is a rising US defense and security partner, in the Indo-Pacific and globally.

"I'm confident that with our concerted efforts, we can protect our interests," he said.

"We've revived the so-called quad that comprised the US, India, Japan and Australia. India is also part of a group of likeminded nations that I've convened regularly to advance shared interests," he said.

Navies from the US, India, Australia, Japan and France have been deepening their mutual cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region in view of China's growing attempt to expand military influence in the resource-rich region.

On Monday, a US Navy carrier strike group led by nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz carried out a military drill with a fleet of Indian warships off the coast of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Four frontline warships of the Indian Navy participated in the 'PASSEX' exercise when the US carrier strike group was transiting through the Indian Ocean Region on its way from the South China Sea.

The USS Nimitz is the world's largest warship and the exercise between the two navies assumed significance as it took place in the midst of tensions between India and China in eastern Ladakh as well as in China's military assertiveness in South China Sea.

'Recent clashes initiated by PLA latest examples of unacceptable behaviour of CCP'

Pompeo said the recent clashes 'initiated' by the Chinese military against India in eastern Ladakh are the latest examples of the 'unacceptable behaviour' of the ruling Chinese Communist Party.

Pompeo also praised India's recent decision to ban 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok, which he said presents 'serious security risks' to the Indian people.

"It's important that democracies like ours work together, especially as we see more clearly than ever the true scope of the challenge posed by the Chinese Communist Party.

"Our infrastructure projects, our supply chains, our sovereignty, and our people's health and safety are all at risk. If we get it wrong," Pompeo said in his virtual keynote address.

"The recent clashes initiated by the People's Liberation Army (PLA) are just the latest examples of the Chinese Communist Party's unacceptable behaviour. We were deeply saddened by the deaths of 20 Indian service members. I'm confident that with our concerted efforts, we can protect our interests," he said.

The troops of India and China are locked in a standoff in several areas along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh since May 5.

The situation deteriorated last month following the Galwan Valley clashes that left 20 Indian Army personnel dead.

Pompeo's remarks came a day after US Defence Secretary Mark Esper described the Chinese military's aggressive activities in the region as 'destabilising'.

Esper also said the US was 'very closely' monitoring the situation between India and China along the Line of Actual Control.

In his virtual address, Pompeo commended India's recent decision to ban 59 Chinese mobile apps, including TikTok, that he said present 'serious security risks' for the Indian people.

Pompeo said he was happy to report that India is a 'rising US defense and security partner in the Indo-Pacific and globally'.

Asserting that the United States has never been more supportive of India's security, he said New Delhi too, is an important partner and a key pillar of President Donald Trump's foreign policy.

"We work closely together to make sure that the world intellectual property organisation election was won by someone who respects property rights. It seems pretty basic," Pompeo said amidst Washington's growing dispute with Beijing over intellectual property rights.

Relations between the US and China have taken a turn for the worse in recent months over Beijing's handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Fresh concerns over China's crackdown of its Uigur Muslims in Xinjiang and Beijing imposing a controversial national security law in Hong Kong have also raised bilateral tensions.

Pompeo noted that the so-called Quad, comprising the US, India, Japan, and Australia, has been revived.

"India is also part of a group of like-minded nations that I've convened regularly to advance shared interests," he said.

The US and China are at odds over Beijing flexing its military muscles in the strategic South China Sea.

He also noted that the US has invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the next G-7 Summit where the leaders will advance the economic prosperity network.

The G-7 is a group of countries and organisations that the US considers natural partners because they share values like democracy and transparency and the rule of law.

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Lalit K Jha
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