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Pompeo to focus on ‘ambitious agenda’ for India-US partnership

This is Pompeo’s first standalone visit to India as secretary of state. He first visited India in September 2018 with then secretary of defense James Mattis for the inaugural edition of the 2+ ministerial dialogue.

india Updated: Jun 13, 2019 06:11 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington
Mike Pompeo,India-US ties,James Mattis
American officials have tended to frame upcoming visits to India in lofty terms in the past. Pompeo’s predecessor Rex Tillerson had termed India and the US “two bookends of stability — on either side of the globe — standing for greater security and prosperity for our citizens and people around the world”. (AFP)

US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo will preview elements of the Trump administration’s “ambitious agenda” for the US-India strategic partnership in a speech at a business forum on Wednesday to frame his first standalone visit to India on June 24.

Pompeo will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and external affairs minister S Jaishankar to discuss “our ambitious agenda for the US-India strategic partnership”, State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said in a statement on Tuesday.

The day before, she had told reporters of Pompeo’s upcoming speech at the US Chamber of Commerce, in which he will “preview elements of a cooperative agenda” for the partnership.

No details are available of the speech but the spokesperson framed the visit as part of a four-country tour — Sri Lanka, Japan and South Korea are his other stops — to “broaden and deepen our partnership with key countries to advance our shared goal of a free and open Indo-Pacific”.

This is Pompeo’s first standalone visit to India as secretary of state. He first visited India in September 2018 with then secretary of defense James Mattis for the inaugural edition of the 2+ ministerial dialogue.

Also read: ‘Modi hai to mumkin hai’, says Pompeo in major policy speech ahead of India visit

American officials have tended to frame upcoming visits to India in lofty terms in the past. Pompeo’s predecessor Rex Tillerson had termed India and the US “two bookends of stability — on either side of the globe — standing for greater security and prosperity for our citizens and people around the world”.

He had gone on to rip into China. “The very international order that has benefited India’s rise — and that of many others — is increasingly under strain. China, while rising alongside India, has done so less responsibly, at times undermining the international, rules-based order even as countries like India operate within a framework that protects other nations’ sovereignty.”

One expert had described the speech as a “love letter”.

In July 2014, then Secretary of State John Kerry had said in a speech before his India visit: “The US and India can and should be indispensable partners for the 21st century, and that is, I assure you, the way we approach the Modi government.”

He had added: “India’s new government has won a historic mandate to deliver change and reform, and together, we have a singular opportunity to help India to be able to meet that challenge.”

First Published: Jun 13, 2019 06:08 IST