Asserting that the vitality of US-India ties is critical to keep a check on China’s actions to rewire Indo-Pacific for its own interests, US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan Saturday said the two countries’ bilateral relationship will determine whether Beijing ultimately succeeds in its effort, reported ANI. Sullivan met External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar in New Delhi today where they discussed a range of issues, including regional security, advancing peace in Afghanistan, and expanding US-India trade and investment ties.
Both leaders also shared their visions of a free and open Indo-Pacific region and the best ways to advance US-India cooperation, with like-minded partners, said the US State Department in a statement.
Sullivan also reiterated US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s views during his recent speech at the India Ideas Summit where he said the US and India have a unique opportunity to move forward together, for the good of both of our peoples, the Indo-Pacific region, and the world.
Highlighting the importance of growing the two-plus-two dialogue in the context of Indo-Pacific security and South China Sea, Sullivan said, “Together we’re seizing this opportunity by growing our 2+2 Dialogue, working together to counter the scourge of terrorism, and maintaining freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.”
China’s policies and actions in the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean featured prominently in discussions today, in which the US Deputy Secretary of State warned that China’s model of development is upending the cooperative approach that has advanced peace and prosperity throughout the region. “China’s policies & actions seek to rewire Indo-Pacific to advance its own interests.”
But he added: “We can’t do this alone. We need like-minded partners.”
In this backdrop, Sullivan clearly indicated that the vitality of US-India ties will ultimately help in keeping a check on China’s growing influence. “What we seek is a China that competes fairly in the rules-based order that has brought increased prosperity to so many over so many decades. But we recognise we can’t do this alone. That’s why the vitality of U.S.-India partnership is such an important factor in determining whether China ultimately succeeds in reshaping Asia to its purposes. Leaders of both the United States and India recognise this,” he said.