Jaishankar, Pompeo exchange views on bilateral ties, Indo-Pacific, COVID-19

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August 7, 2020 3:23 PM

India, 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.

India and the US have explored ways to boost cooperation in the resource-rich Indo-Pacific region where China has been trying to spread its influence. (Reuters file image)

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his US counterpart Mike Pompeo have shared assessments on regional and global issues, including the COVID-19 pandemic, Indo-Pacific and Quadrilateral coalition during a wide-ranging conversation. The two leaders spoke over phone on Thursday and reiterated the strength of the India-US relationship to advance peace, prosperity and security in the Indo-Pacific region and around the globe, Cale Brown, Principal Deputy Spokesperson of the State Department, said. Jaishankar on Friday said he held a wide-ranging conversation with Pompeo.

Reviewed our bilateral cooperation including working of relevant mechanisms. Shared assessments on regional and global issues including South Asia, Afghanistan, Indo-Pacific & beyond, he wrote on Twitter. Exchanged views on responding to the coronavirus challenge. Discussed meeting in the Quad format in the near future, Jaishankar said in another tweet.

India and the US have explored ways to boost cooperation in the resource-rich Indo-Pacific region where China has been trying to spread its influence. The issue was discussed extensively during the third round of the India-US Maritime Security Dialogue which took place in Goa in 2018. The US has been pushing for a broader role by India in the strategically important Indo-Pacific region.

India, 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. Beijing claims almost all of the 1.3 million square mile South China Sea as its sovereign territory. China has been building military bases on artificial islands in the region also claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

Beijing has impeded commercial activity like fishing or mineral exploration by countries like Vietnam and the Philippines, claiming that the ownership of territory belonged to China for hundreds of years. Giving more details of the talks between Jaishankar and Pompeo, Brown said: “Both leaders agreed to continue close cooperation on a full range of regional and international issues and look forward to Quadrilateral consultations and the US-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue later this year”.

In November 2017, India, the US, Australia and Japan gave shape to the long-pending Quadrilateral coalition to develop a new strategy to keep the critical sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of Chinese influence. The first 2+2 dialogue was held in New Delhi in September 2018 after the mechanism was approved by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump.

During the phone call, Jaishankar and Pompeo discussed the ongoing bilateral and multilateral cooperation on the issues of international concern, including efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, support the peace process in Afghanistan, and address the recent destabilising actions in the region, Brown said in a readout of the telephonic conversation.

The two leaders have been in regular communication during the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed over seven lakh lives and infected nearly 19 million people worldwide.

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