The India-US talks will take place just a week ahead of the American presidential election and in the midst of India's festering border row with China.
New Delhi: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Mark T Esper have left for India for the third edition of the 2+2 ministerial dialogue which will be held on Tuesday (October 27). External Affairs minister S Jaishankar and Defence minister Rajnath Singh will represent India during the talks.
Taking to Twitter, Mike Pompeo informed that he has left for his trip to India, saying, "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."
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 also visit Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Indonesia to engage the countries in discussions on how free nations can work together to thwart threats posed by the Chinese Communist Party.
A host of crucial bilateral, regional and global issues including China’s efforts to expand influence in the Indo-Pacific region as well as its aggressive behaviour in eastern Ladakh is likely to figure in the talks.
In the last few months, the US has been ramping up attack on China over a range of contentious issues including the border row with India, its military assertiveness in the South China Sea and the way Beijing handled the anti-government protests in Hong Kong.
Earlier on Friday, the US State Department said in a statement that the talks between US and India will focus on four themes — regional security cooperation, defense information sharing, military-to-military interactions, and defense trade.
According to an earlier statement by Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Dean Thompson, the US Secretary will also be urging the Sri Lankan officials to make decisions about its relationship with China and to review the option that the United States offers for transparent and sustainable economic development.
The first edition of the two-plus-two dialogue was held in Delhi in September 2018 after the mechanism was approved by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump.
The second edition of the dialogue took place in Washington in December last year.
Last Updated 26, Oct 2020, 9:24 AM