Emphasising on the greater Quad cooperation, Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun has underscored the importance of the US-India partnership, particularly in advancing a free and open Indo-Pacific.
The State Department said this at the conclusion of October 12-14 India visit of Biegun, during which he delivered keynote remarks at the India-US Forum and met senior Indian government officials ahead of the US-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue later this year.
At the India-US Forum, Mr Biegun joined Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla to underscore the importance of the US-India partnership, particularly in advancing a free and open Indo-Pacific, the State Department said.
Biegun emphasised the work of the Quad towards a region protected and made prosperous in equal measure by strong and peaceful nations in the Indo-Pacific.
He also underscored enhanced cooperation among the Quad to create resilient supply chains, promote transparency and increase maritime security, topics most recently discussed in the October 6 meeting of Foreign Ministers attended by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the State Department said in a readout of his trip.
In his meetings with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla and Defense Secretary Ajay Kumar, the top American diplomat discussed the US efforts to work with India and like-minded partners on a range of issues including regional security, economic cooperation and coordinated efforts to address the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While in New Delhi, he also met with Bhutanese Ambassador to India Major General Vetsop Namgyel to reaffirm the United States’ close relationship with the people of Bhutan, the statement added.
Mr Jaishankar on October 6 held talks with Pompeo in Tokyo, focusing on key bilateral and regional issues and resolving to work together to advance peace and security in the Indo-Pacific and around the globe. They were in Tokyo to attend a ministerial meeting of the Quad or Quadrilateral coalition comprising India, the US, Australia and Japan.
In November 2017, India, the US, Australia and Japan gave shape to the long-pending “Quad” coalition to work closely in the Indo-Pacific region. The move was seen as an attempt to contain China’s growing influence in the region.
The third edition of the two-plus-two dialogue between India and the US is expected to take place on October 26 and 27 here during which both sides are likely to carry out a comprehensive review of their strategic cooperation.
US Secretary of State Pompeo and Defence Secretary Defence Secretary Mark Esper are scheduled to visit India for the dialogue.
The Indian side at the talks will be represented by Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
The first 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.
The new framework of the ministerial dialogue was initiated in order to provide a forward-looking vision for the strategic partnership between the two countries.
In the third edition of talks, both sides are also expected to delve into the situation in the Indo-Pacific region as well as in India’s neighbourhood besides key bilateral issues.
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