U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo announced that he would visit New Delhi at the end of the month as he previewed comments that he is expected to make at an India Ideas U.S. India Business Council event, ‘the India Ideas Summit: Connecting Cities and States’ which will be held on Wednesday and Thursday this week.
“I’ll be visiting India, an important part of President Trump’s strategy in the Indo-Pacific,” Mr. Pompeo told reporters at a State Department briefing on Monday.
“I’m looking forward to the opportunity both to give the set of remarks [at the India Ideas event] about how it is our relationship is so closely tied economically, 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,” he said.
Mr. Pompeo’s Asia trip will take place between June 24 and 30, and he will first visit New Delhi, State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said.
“Prime Minister 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,” Ms. Ortagus said.
The U.S. is seeking a stronger defence and strategic relationship with India, especially with regard to the Indo-Pacific. This is driven to a significant extent by its concerns over China’s growing influence in the region and globally.
Mr. Pompeo is next expected to visit Colombo, his first after the Easter terror attacks. The U.S. had also been concerned about growing Chinese influence in Sri Lanka and debt traps in the country, resulting from “bad loans” from China to facilitate infrastructure projects such as the strategic Hambantota Port which was leased to China in 2017 for 99 years for over $ 1 billion.
“…Secretary Pompeo will express America’s solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka as they stand united against the despicable Easter Sunday terrorist attacks. He will also discuss promising opportunities for U.S.-Sri Lanka cooperation based on shared commitments to a free and open Indo-Pacific region,” Ms. Ortagus said.
Following Sri Lanka, Mr. Pompeo will head to Osaka, Japan, where the G-20 Leaders’ Summit is taking place. Mr. Modi is expected to meet U.S. President Donald Trump at a trilateral along the sidelines of the summit.
Mr. Pompeo is expected to join Mr. Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Osaka in their discussions on North Korea and denuclearisation and will accompany Mr. Trump to South Korea to meet its President Moon Jae-in, Ms. Ortagus said.