The United States will stand with India as it confronts threats to its sovereignty and liberty, US State Secretary Mike Pompeo said on Monday amid border tensions between India and China in eastern Ladakh. He also referred to the sacrifice of 20 Indian soldiers who were killed in clash with Chinese troops in Galwan Valley in June this year.
At a joint media interaction after 2+2 ministerial meeting, Pompeo referred to “threats posed” by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and said India and US were taking steps to strengthen cooperation against all manners of threats. Slamming CCP, he said it is “no friend to democracy, rule of law and transparency”.
He also made a mention of India’s role in Quad, a grouping of four democracies that includes Japan and Australia apart from India and the US.
“We visited the National War Memorial to honour brave men and women of Indian armed forces who sacrificed for the world’s largest democracy, including 20 killed by PLA in Galwan Valley. The US will stand with India as they confront threats to their sovereignty, liberty,” Pompeo said in the presence of US Defence Secretary Mark Esper, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
“US and India are taking steps to strengthen our cooperation against all manner of threats and not just those posed by the Chinese Communist Party. Last year, we’ve expanded our cooperation on cyber issues, our navies have held joint exercises in Indian ocean,” Pompeo added.
He said that the US values India as a multilateral partner and continues to support its candidature for a permanent seat in the Security Council.
“The US values India as a multilateral partner, whether it’s through the Quad, making Afghan peace negotiation successful or working together during India’s upcoming term on UN Security Council, we continue to support India’s permanent membership of UNSC,” Pompeo added.
He said Indian ministers and the US Secretaries discussed at a “great length” their joint efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and the two countries are committed to working together and expanding partnership across many fronts. “The US health agencies are working closely with government partners of India on the COVID-19 response,” he said.
India and the US signed five key agreements during the visit including the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) which will allow India real-time access to precision data and topographical images from the United States military satellites.