United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday announced that he would visit New Delhi this month to advance the “incredibly important” ties with India, a vital part of President Donald Trump’s strategy in the Indo-Pacific region, PTI reported.
State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said Pompeo’s Asia trip will take place between June 24 and June 30, and his first visit will be to New Delhi while South Korea will be his last destination. During the nearly week-long visit, Pompeo will also go to to Sri Lanka and Japan.
The secretary of state will preview elements of a cooperative agenda as he addresses the India Ideas Summit of US-India Business Council on Wednesday before starting his trip. “I’ll be speaking to a group of Indian business leaders in preparation for the trip that I’ll take in a couple weeks where I’ll be visiting India,” Pompeo told reporters at a State Department briefing at the Foggy Bottom headquarters.
“I’m looking forward to the opportunity both to give the set of remarks about how it is our relationship is so closely tied economically,” Pompeo added. “But also importantly the things that the United States and India can continue to do to build out what is an incredibly important relationship for both countries.”
This will be the first visit by a member of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet to India since Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been re-elected. “Prime Minister [Narendra] Modi’s recent election victory provides an excellent opportunity for him to implement his vision for a strong and prosperous India that plays a leading role on the global stage,” said Ortagus.
India, the US and several other world powers have been speaking about the need to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific region in the backdrop of over China’s growing influence in the region and globally. Modi has also supported growing cooperation with the United States, especially on defence matters.
The visit also comes amid rising trade tensions between the two countries, with Trump administration forcing India to stop buying oil from Iran and Venezuela.
After India, Pompeo will visit Colombo, his first after the Easter terror attacks in which over 250 people were killed. “…Secretary Pompeo will express America’s solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka as they stand united against the despicable Easter Sunday terrorist attacks,” Ortagus said.
Pompeo will then head to Osaka in Japan, where the G-20 Leaders’ Summit will take place on June 28 and June 29. Pompeo will join Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Osaka in their discussions on North Korea and denuclearisation, and will accompany Trump to South Korea to meet President Moon Jae-in, Ortagus said.