Vastavam web: US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo has left for India for the third edition of the 2+2 ministerial dialogue to be held in New Delhi on Tuesday during which the two sides are expected to explore ways to further bolster bilateral defence ties and security cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, amidst China flexing its muscles in the strategic region. The visit 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 tweeted on Sunday. The high-level talks are taking place in the midst of India’s festering border row with China in eastern Ladakh as well as the renewed global focus on the growing Chinese military assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region. Both issues are expected to figure in the talks.
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. In November 2017, India, Japan, the US and Australia gave shape to the long-pending proposal of setting up the “Quad” to develop a new strategy to keep the critical sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of any influence.
In the midst of growing global concern over China’s expansionist behaviour, the foreign ministers of the Quad member nations met in Tokyo on October 6 and reaffirmed their collective vision for a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific. The evolving situation in the Indo-Pacific region in the wake of China’s increasing military muscle-flexing has become a major talking point among leading global powers.The US has been favouring making Quad a security architecture to check China’s growing assertiveness.