WASHINGTON: In an official statement the U.S State Department has disclosed that Secretary Michael R. Pompeo will travel to New Delhi, India, October 26-27, 2020. On this tour, Secretary Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper will meet with External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar and Defense Minister Rajnath Singh for the U.S.-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue. Secretary Pompeo will also meet with Prime Minister Modi and hold discussions with other government and business leaders on ways to advance the U.S.-India Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership, the spokesperson added.
According to the official press release of U.S State Department, it reaffirmed the shared democratic ties and growing bilateral relationship based shared values and a commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The press release stated that, the United States and India enjoy deeply rooted democratic traditions. The growth in the partnership reflects a deepening strategic convergence on a range of issues. Cooperation between two countries is expanding in important areas including health, infrastructure development, energy, aviation, science, and space, the spokesperson underscored. In the press release, the spokesperson highlighted that U.S and India are holding the third U.S.-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue in just over two years demonstrates high-level commitment to shared diplomatic and security objectives. The increased close relationship can be understood earlier this year President Donald Trump made visit to India, Ahmedabad where he addressed 100,000 people and Secretary of State will visit India fourth time during Trump Administration. The press release of U.S State Department highlighted the importance and potential of India as a “regional and international leader”
The official spokesperson of U.S State Department highlighted that, as outlined in U.S National Security Strategy, “the United States welcomes India’s emergence as a leading regional and global power”. “The United States looks forward to collaborating closely with India during its upcoming term on the UN Security Council”. The statement further added that, “the recent Quadrilateral Ministerial meeting in Tokyo convened by Secretary Pompeo and his counterparts from India, Japan, and Australia, demonstrated the strong cooperative ties among Indo-Pacific democracies interested in strengthening a rules-based order in which all nations are sovereign, strong, and prosperous”. While emphasizing on the regional alliance, the official spokesperson remarked that, the Quad has proven to be an effective multilateral mechanism, helping to create resilient supply chains, promote transparency, counter disinformation, and increase maritime security. 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, the spokesperson highlighted. While addressing the defense and security cooperation between two countries the spokesperson remarked that, both the states are “expanding cooperation between two militaries”. This includes navies, which play a critical role in ensuring freedom of navigation in the Indo-Pacific.
While peeking into the past, the official spokesperson added that, in July 2020, the Indian Navy successfully completed a passing exercise with the U.S. Navy as the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group transited through the Indian Ocean Region. In 2019, the U.S. and India held their first-ever tri-service exercise, Tiger Triumph, in which the U.S. Navy and Marines, Air Force, and Army participated in a bilateral exercise with their Indian counterparts. The United States welcomes Australia joining the Malabar naval exercise alongside India and Japan. The press release also highlighted that, both countries are enhancing the defense trade as India maintains the largest fleets of C-17 and P-8 aircraft outside of the United States. “In 2020 the United States has authorized more than $20 billion in defense sales to India”. The industrial cooperation is enhancing between two countries. It mentioned the U.S.- India Defense Technology and Trade Initiative, the United States and India work together on co-production and co-development of defense equipment.
The press release also encompassed the “people-to-people bond” that is increasing between India and U.S. the statement mentioned that “this bond is unbreakable.” The official spokesperson highlighted that, Indian students enrich U.S universities and colleges, contribute to the American economy, and build lifelong bonds with Americans. The number of Indian students studying in the United States has increased five years in a row, more than doubling from 96,000 students in the 2012- 13 academic year to more than 200,000 in 2018-19, the statement runs. While talking about the Indian Diaspora, the spokesperson stated that, the Indian diaspora in the United States is nearly four million strong. More than 50,000 Indian-Americans gathered in Houston over a year ago to attend the “Howdy Modi” rally, the largest-ever gathering with a foreign political leader in the United States.
While highlighting the close bond between both countries, the statement added that, the Fulbright-Nehru Program is central to fulfilling the February 2020 commitment by President Trump and Prime Minister Modi to increase higher education collaboration. Till now the program has awarded more than 10,000 Fulbright scholarships and nearly 9,000 other awards to U.S. and Indian students, scholars, and professionals. Along with this U.S has also launched fund 15 research partnerships and expansion of Academy for Women Entrepreneurs in India to empower the village women.