India, US to advance strategic ties
Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla met US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun on Tuesday for bilateral consultations over a diverse range of issues, said the Ministry of External Affairs.
“They highlighted convergences and shared interests between India and the US. Both sides reiterated their commitment to Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership. They discussed ways to strengthen cooperation in the UN,” it added.
China was not mentioned, but on Monday Biegun while participating in the opening session of the 4th India-US Forum with Shringla, called it “an elephant in the room”. Three days earlier, US National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien referred to the situation on the LAC and said “the time has come to accept that dialogue and agreements will not persuade or compel China to change”.
Building on Secretary Pompeo’s October 6 meeting with Minister of External Affairs S. Jaishankar and ahead of the US-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue later this year, Biegun’s engagements will also “focus on how the US and India can work together to advance peace, prosperity, and security in the Indo-Pacific and around the globe,” said a US State Department statement.
In a display of cooperation, India has welcomed the US plans to pursue a defence relationship with the Maldives. So far, India has occupied the major space in Maldives’ security calculus. Its welcome of US intentions indicates its willingness to cede some of that space to the US to keep China at bay. Biegun will on Wednesday travel to Dhaka. Shringla had visited Dhaka in August for a 90-minute conversation with PM Sheikh Hasina to sort out festering issues against the backdrop of China promising $ 25 billion in investments.