Pompeo invokes new age of India-US ties, targets China

Reinforcing the notion of a group of like-minded democracies that can take on an assertive China, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo underlined that India is an important partner and a key pillar of President Donald Trump’s foreign policy.

This is a new age of relationship between US and India, said Mr Pompeo in his address at the virtual India Ideas Summit hosted by the US India Business Council (USIBC).

Alluding to burgeoning defence ties, Mr Pompeo stressed that the US has never been more supportive of India’s security.

Underscoring growing strategic comfort in the India-US relationship, Mr Pompeo said: “We don’t just interact on a bilateral basis. We see each other for what we are great democracies, global powers and really good friends.”

“India is one of a few trusted like-minded countries whose leaders I call on a regular basis for counsel and collaboration on issues that span continents,” Mr Pompeo added.

“Mike Pompeo’s spirited speech underlines the growing importance of India in the US’ foreign policy calculus. The idiom in which he articulated his idea of India-US relations suggests a deepening strategic connect and confluence of vital interests between India and the US,” said Manish Chand, Founder-CEO of India Writes Network, an emerging think tank focused on global affairs, and India and the World magazine.

Club of Democracies

The US’ top diplomat was unsparing in his denunciation of the recent clashes “initiated” by the Chinese military against India in eastern Ladakh and dubbed it as the latest example of the “unacceptable behaviour” of ruling Chinese Communist Party.

“It’s important that democracies like ours work together, especially as we see more clear than ever the true scope of the challenge posed by the Chinese communist party,” he said.

“Our infrastructure projects, our supply chains, our sovereignty, and our people’s health and safety are all at risk. If we get it wrong,” Mr Pompeo said in his virtual keynote address.

“The recent clashes initiated by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) are just the latest examples of the Chinese Communist Party’s unacceptable behaviour. We were deeply saddened by the deaths of 20 Indian service members. I’m confident that with our concerted efforts, we can protect our interests,” he said.

Mr Pompeo also invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the next G7 meeting, likely in September this year.

Urging India to reduce its reliance on Chinese firms, Pompeo said that India has a chance to attract global supply chains away from China. He added that the US is working with India to enhance the Blue Dot Network and said that India needs to be open to trade.